Bulelwa Ndudula‚ the wife of slain senior Bhisho official Sakhekile Ndudula was denied bail in the East London Magistrate’s Court on Thursday morning.
Joemath said the onus was on Ndudula to show there were exceptional circumstances for her to be released on bail. He found that she failed in this regard as her only evidence in the bail application was an affidavit read out in court by her attorney Simphiwe Mbabane.
This he said meant the State was not given an opportunity to cross-examine her to establish whether exceptional circumstances existed.
Joemath said although evidence led by the investigating officer Captain Silumani Somkence was “lots of opinion evidence” he was not swayed by the defence’s explanation of how the accused came into contact with gunshot residue.
The defence on Wednesday argued the accused had been exposed to the gunshot residue while trying to assist her husband to the car. This was disputed by the State with the investigating officer saying the residue was primary and chances of acquiring it through secondary contact were minimal.
Joemath put the state witnesses at the centre of his judgment saying it would not be in the interest of justice for them to be placed under a witness protection programme until the case is finalised.
He was responding to the investigating officer’s testimony that should Ndudula be released on bail‚ he would have to put his witnesses into the programme to shield them from her.
The accused’s attorney said weighing the cost of the witness protection programme should not be to the detriment of his client’s freedom. He welcomed the idea.
However‚ Joemath found the programme was a complicated one and left strenuous effects on its victim since they are required to change their names‚ residence and workplace.
He denied Ndudula bail and postponed the matter to November 8 for further investigation. TMG Digital/Daily Dispatch