Still no decision on bail for PE doctor accused of shooting wife

Magistrate says not enough information before her to make an informed decision on Port Elizabeth doctor's bid for freedom

Dr Mkhuseli Boto
Dr Mkhuseli Boto
Image: Supplied

The fate of attempted murder accused Dr Mkhuseli Boto remains unclear with a magistrate informing the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court on Thursday that she had been unable to reach a decision with regards to his application for bail.

Both the state and defence were taken by surprise on Thursday when, after a two-week wait for judgment, magistrate Ramona van Vuuren said she required further evidence to assist her in either granting or denying his bid to be released from custody.

Boto, 50, has been in custody at the St Albans Prison hospital section for more than a month after he was arrested for allegedly shooting his estranged wife, Tabita Boto, in the face at their Summerstrand home on August 31.

It is further alleged that he then tried to commit suicide by injecting himself with an insulin overdose.

Tabita, 36, also a medical doctor in the city, narrowly survived the incident after undergoing an emergency surgery to remove the bullet from her jaw.

In lengthy bail proceedings with numerous postponements due to a full court roll, among other reasons, defence attorney Zolile Ngqeza argued that his client had no predisposition to violence, was unlikely to commit another offence and was not a threat to his wife.

The two were getting a  divorce.

The state had, meanwhile, opposed the formal bail application with fears that Boto would track Tabita down and finish what he started.

Her divorce attorney, Joanne Anthony-Gooden, gave an affidavit highlighting her client's fear.

The couple had three young children together, who were also at the house at the time of the shooting.

But after a two week wait for judgment, Van Vuuren indicated on Thursday that she had been unable to come to a decision.

I do not have sufficient evidence before me to make a decision
Magistrate Ramona van Vuuren

“I do not have sufficient evidence before me to make a decision,” she told the court as murmurs erupted from Boto's family seated in the gallery.

The magistrate wanted the head of the pharmacy at St Albans, the head of the prison's hospital section and a senior psychologist to testify.

In addition, Van Vuuren asked the state to present her with further evidence with regards to the ballistics tests, and the progress in obtaining these results.

Van Vuuren explained that she wanted to know what facilities were available at the prison's hospital, what the set up was like and if Boto, who has admitted to being clinically depressed, would receive the medicine he required.

A visibly annoyed Ngqeza said bail applications were urgent by nature and that the state and defence should have been made aware of the court's concerns earlier.

The matter was provisionally postponed to Monday next week, when a new date for further evidence will be arranged.

Boto said he would plead not guilty to the charges.

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