Photos from the 7-7-7 Campaign
The five accused of the murder of Eudy Simulane reappeared in court today. The hearing was initially delayed because accused number 5 was appearing in another court on charges of rape and robbery, which he was out on bail for . Once proceedings began, they were further bogged down by technical aspects related to the right of the accused to have legal representation and strategic tactics by one of the accused’s attorneys to have his client’s bail hearing heard separately.
Magistrate Betty Lesufi heard legal aid attorney Mr Mfingwane state he will only represent accused number 5 and not the other three as initially envisaged. In his explanation for this he said he couldn’t represent all four of them as they were pointing fingers at each other. He will continue to represent accused number 5, Tshepo Mphithi, who made a confession last week, the details of which are yet to be released. Mr Hoffman, the attorney for accused number 4, Themba Pitja, brought before the court the motion for his client’s bail hearing to be conducted separately to the others. He also requested that he not be put in the same jail cell due to the fact that his client was receiving threats from the other co-accused.
The state prosecutor, Mr Maloma, objected vehemently to Mr Hoffman’s request, stating that this denies the collective nature of this horrendous crime. Inside a fully packed court, the parents and family members of Eudy, together with activists from a broad base of social movements sat attentively, whilst over three hundred protestors picketed outside the court. Magistrate Lesuffi handed down her ruling on the two motions, citing section 3.4.2 of the Criminal Procedures Act, concluding that there is no reason why accused number 4’s bail hearing should be heard separately given the seriousness of the charges against all 5 of them. She further called on the Legal Aid Board to give preference to this case by assigning attorneys for accused numbers 1,2 & 3 soon. She granted the request for accused number 4 to be kept separately from the others and remanded the case to reconvene on the 26th May at 8:30am. Activists from the 777 Campaign are hoping that the accused will plea on that date but be remanded to remain in custody until judgement, and that there will be no delays in the further investigation and prosecution of this case. The Campaign calls on all activists to remain vigilant and continue to be a visible and vocal presence throughout this process.
Press Release via Alliance for the 777 Campaign National Coordination