Sipho Mkhatshwa, one of the men accused of killing Hillary Gardee, has been denied bail.
Delivering his ruling on Mkhatshwa’s bail application in the Nelspuruit magistrate’s court on Wednesday, magistrate Eddie Hall said Mkhatshwa had failed to give satisfactory reasons why his release would not undermine the function of justice.
“The court is to determine if the release of the accused will not undermine the function of justice and not put the life of witnesses and that of that applicant in danger.
“The state testified that the accused, while in custody, planned to kill a witness. The applicant stated more than once, detailing his torture by the police when the statements were taken, that he was forced [to confess to Gardee’s killing]...
“The court therefore could not find grounds to grant the accused bail, therefore bail is denied,” Hall said.
Mkhatshwa and his co-accused, Philemon Lukhele and Albert Gama, are charged with the abduction, rape and murder of Gardee, the daughter of former EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee.
She went missing on April 29 while shopping with her adopted three-year-old daughter. The daughter was later that day dropped off at Umnenke Street at KaMaGugu where they resided.
Gardee’s lifeless body with stab wounds, boot prints and a gunshot wound was found by timber plantation workers on May 3, about 60km outside Mbombela towards Sabie.
Lukhele and Gama are expected to start their bail application on August 8 in the same court.
They will appear together on August 22 for drafting of an indictment.