A 25-year-old Port Elizabeth man who stands accused of the murder of Malabar resident Bhaven Moodley, will know next week whether or not he will be granted bail.
The man is facing a string of serious charges which include murder, rape, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, robbery with aggravating circumstances and possession of suspected stolen property.
Last month, 37-year-old Moodley, a father of two, was found murdered at his Malabar home in Port Elizabeth.
A 66-year-old woman was found assaulted and confused at the time of the incident.
During court proceedings on Tuesday, defence attorney, Lineen Swarts disputed that the offences were in fact schedule 6, arguing that strangulation “nine out of 10 times did not constitute murder”, and at best, for the state, would constitute culpable homicide.
Swarts argued that the cause of Moodley’s death was unknown and even if Moodley was found with a shirt and cable around his neck, it did not indicate that force was used.
“We still do not know the cause of death, he could of died of anything, we are not privy to the postmortem, if the state alleges he was murdered, then the state must provide evidence.”
He added that there was no evidence of robbery, and the mere fact his client was found in possession of a vehicle did not mean he was at that house.
Swarts argued that if the elderly woman did not know what had happened on that particular evening, a finding of robbery could also not be made.
“Nowhere in the [police] statement is it said the vehicle was taken by force, there’s no connection how he came about having the vehicle. The vehicle was not found at the scene, there is no evidence that the accused took the vehicle from that house,” said Swarts.
He further argued that his client’s “confession” made to a non-commissioned officer was inadmissible.
Last week, State Prosecutor Tim Van Rooyen revealed in open court that the 25-year-old man had asked for a chance “to tell the truth” when he was found in possession of a Black Mercedes Benz AMG which police said was registered in the elderly woman’s name.
“He said to the constable that Joshua Chetty and himself [the accused] made a decision to rob a house in Crammer street in Malabar because they knew it had valuables such as money and gold.
“They both continued with the plan, the robbery became so violent and they struggled with the residents and managed to get away with the television and motor vehicle. They took the car and television and drove it to Chapman hotel, where they waited for a buyer of the car,” said Van Rooyen.
On Tuesday, Van Rooyen argued that the state could not be held to ransom because the investigation was incomplete.
The state previously indicated that it would oppose bail.
“The state has more than enough evidence there was a robbery and there was a murder. The accused’s fingerprints were found right next to the body. There is a strong prima facie case in terms of schedule 6,” said Van Rooyen.
Van Rooyen added that the accused had been implicated strongly, involving a high degree of violence.
He reiterated that the accused posed a risk to state witnesses and the community at large.
“He knows the whereabouts of this house and this poses a risk,” said Van Rooyen.
The case was postponed to February 9 for a decision on bail.
– African News Agency (ANA)