Johannesburg - The two men suspected of raping, kidnapping and robbing Uber passengers have been denied bail because of the sheer number and severity of the charges against them.
The accused, one of whom is a former Uber driver, have been linked to four case dockets where the driver’s clientele were raped, robbed, or both, over the past few months.
On Tuesday, the men continued their bail application in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court.
The driver’s lawyer, Vincent Makamu, insisted that police had performed a procedurally incorrect arrest and conducted an illegal identity parade without his lawyer’s presence.
Makamu argued that even though investigating officer Captain Philip Radebe had taken the stand, he was unable to place any real evidence on therecord linking his client to the attacks.
He said the case against his client was borderline nonexistent and the police’s conduct should count as an exceptional circumstance in allowing the 25-year-old driver out on bail.
Makamu said the forensic analysis required for the investigation could take several months, which meant his client would be in custody for that time before his trial could begin.
Sibusiso Mkhwanazi, the lawyer of the driver’s co-accused, also said Radebe had been evasiveon the stand and reiterated the weak case against his client.
However, prosecutor Yusuf Baba pointed out that in Radebe’s affidavit submitted to the court, clear evidence of the two men’s involvement had been mentioned.
First, a SIM card from one of the victims was found in one of the men’s phones, while other cellphone data had placed them at the scenes of the crimes.
Baba tried to argue that the police were correct in their conduct.
However, magistrate Ndivhuwo Setusha interrupted, saying that the issue of the ID parade and alleged wrongful arrest had not been fully interrogated.
It was because of that, she said, that she couldn't acknowledge the aspects or rule upon them, and that they should be reserved for the trial.
In her bail judgment, Setusha said the charges against the pair, from rape, robbery with aggravated circumstances, to kidnapping and attempted murder, were severe and the trial was likely to end up in the high court.
She was also willing to accept that the Statehad a case against the two men, and that oneof them had indicated he could be a flight risk,after it was revealed that his father had been theone to convince him to hand himself over to the police.
After denying the pair bail, Setusha postponed the case to December 6.
Meanwhile, the lawyer representing the victims, Ulrich Roux, has said the complainants were satisfied that bail was refused.
“They have a strong case to answer to and we have the utmost faith in the police, the investigating officer and the prosecution,” he said.