For those wondering why bail was granted to one of the main suspects in the Senekal case – and not for the other – this is the official explanation.
One of the two suspects in the contentious Senekal farm murder case has been granted bail on Thursday. Sekola Matlaletsa was told he would receive his temporary freedom in exchange for a payment of R5 000.
However, his co-accused Sekwetje Mahlamba will remain behind bars for the duration of this case.
SENEKAL SUSPECTS: WHY WAS SEKOLA MATLALETSA GRANTED BAIL?
Magistrate Deon van Rooyen outlined his verdict for the court earlier this afternoon. The case will now be expedited, given that many legislative complexities surround the murder of Brendin Horner.
His decision may turn heads, but the veteran of the legal system gave six reasons why Matlaletsa ‘could no longer remain imprisoned’:
- He has no means of absconding the country, nor any motivation. Matlaletsa has only had one minor brush with the law since 2010.
- Despite being accused of getting his brother-in-law to intimidate the witness, a lack of evidence has been cited here.
- The latest DNA results linking Matlaletsa to the crime are “inconclusive” – as is most of the ‘prima facie’ evidence.
- The continued detention of the accused would prejudice him ‘because he will lose his disability grant’, van Rooyen stated.
- The judge went on to reason that the ‘threat of public outcry’ did not outweigh Matlaletsa’s right to freedom.
- Threats made against a state witness – initially attributed to the suspect – were branded ‘impossible’ to pin on Matlaletsa, given that he was in custody when the unpleasantries were exchanged.
SEKWETJE MAHLAMBA REMAINS BEHIND BARS – THE JUDGE EXPLAINS HIS REASONING:
The magistrate was also on hand to explain why Mahlamba would be going nowhere fast. Referred to as ‘accused number one’ throughout the case, this suspect is believed to have played a role in killing the young farm manager.
Amongst other factors, van Rooyen told the gallery in Senekal that the 32-year-old had lied to the police during their investigation:
“For Mr. Mahlamba, there is a prima facie case to answer, due to witness statements. He lied to police about a shack at his property being locked – perhaps because he knew the trousers with bloodstains on were hidden in the chest freezer.”
“There is a strong likelihood that Mahlamba will attempt to persuade his girlfriend to deviate from her statement, where he says that he left home in the middle of the night and only returned at 4:00, if he were to be released on bail.”
“I don’t believe that releasing Mahlamba is in the interest of justice, in light of his recent stock theft cases. There is also ample eyewitness testimony that suggests he was involved in the murder of Brendin Horner.”Deon van Rooyen