The court on Friday however granted bail of N.dollars 10 000 to one of the accused, 30-year-old Aphas Kamutjemo, albeit with stringent conditions.
Magistrate Lourens Pretorius, who is expected to deliver his verdict in the case next month, said he will elaborate on the reasons for awarding bail to Kamutjemo on the same day.
The accused in the case alongside Kamutjemo are Stockley Mbaruu Kauejao, 39; Muvare Kaporo, 25; and Mathew Kakururume, 24. With the exception of Kamutjemo, the remaining three accused also face one count of murder each relating to the death of Aminuis anti-stock theft activist, Hiambepo ‘Major’ Kazeurua.
In her final submission to the court on the grounds for refusal of bail to the suspects, State prosecutor Antonia Verhoef reiterated that a huge possibility exists that the accused will either abscond from the trial or flee the country if granted bail.
She said the accused face the possibility of being slapped with long prison sentences if convicted, and that could trigger them to flee when released on bail.
The prosecution also argued that investigations into both cases are still in their preliminary stages and as such, it will not be in the interest of the investigations to release the accused persons as the possibility of them meddling with investigations cannot be ruled out.
Verhoef said there are more issues that came up during the bail hearing which warrant investigations by the police on behalf of the State, therefore the suspects should not be granted bail as they could interfere in investigations.
The State Prosecutor noted that accused one in the stock theft matter, Kauejao had a previous conviction on a fraud case, yet he chose not to inform the court, which is an indication of his degree of integrity and honesty.
“Accused number one chose to deliberately keep such information to himself and not inform the court, which in the State’s view is a sign of dishonesty. The court only got to learn of the matter through cross-examination from the State,” she said.
The State also argued that accused one enjoys a prominent position at Farm Brazil, where some of the workers are State witnesses. As such, it argued, he could use his authority and power as their employer to influence the witnesses.
Both defense counsels – Barend Venter and Wouter Maske – representing Kamutjemo and Kauejao respectively, however dismissed the State’s arguments during the final submissions to court.
Maske told the court the State’s assertion that it will not be in the interest of the public to release the suspects on bail, or that it will be in the interest of their own safety to remain in custody, were not proven beyond reasonable doubt.
The defence counsel said while there could indeed be huge public interest in the case due to the prominence the deceased enjoyed in Aminuis, the court cannot raise the value of one person over another based on that fact.
“The fact that the deceased was prominent should not count for anything and the court cannot be forced to emphasise the value of one person over another. I also concede that the public outcry alleged by the State was misconceived as the public did not have the correct information,” he said.
Venter noted that his client has thus far cooperated with the police and had given them no problem. He said given the fact that Kamutjemo gave himself over to the police indicates that he is willing to abide by any bail conditions set by the state and would not abscond trial or flee the country.
Kaporo and Kajururume represented themselves in the bail hearing.
Kamutjemo, who is free on bail, will appear alongside his co-accused in the stock theft charge on 06 March to hear if his co-accused will be granted bail.
The four are then expected to report to the same court two days later, on 08 March, for the continuation of their case.