Beard murder bail hearing postponed

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Roedolf Viviers INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Rudolph Viviers allegedly mocked, then killed Mohammed Fazaaz Kazi. Photo: Bongiwe Mchunu

Krugersdorp - A bail application by Roedolf Viviers, who is accused of killing a Muslim man in a fight about his beard, was postponed by the Krugersdorp Regional Court on Thursday.

Magistrate Reginald Dama said the matter would continue on Tuesday, when he would deliver his verdict in the bail application.

Viviers is charged with the murder of Muhammad Fayaaz Kazi, who died in hospital after being beaten outside a Chicken Licken outlet in Magaliesburg on August 6.

A fight and argument had ensued after Viviers and another man, Zayne van Tonder, 33, allegedly made racist remarks to Kazi and his friend Anser Mahmood about their beards.

Charges against Van Tonder were later dropped and he was released.

Testifying in the case on Thursday, Viviers' lawyer Hendrick Nortjie said he did not believe there would be a public outcry if his client was given bail.

Nortjie said he had not seen any protests or marches about the incident.

“It's an interest, not a public outcry,” he said.

During a short adjournment, Kazi's family and friends expressed outrage at Nortjie's statement.

“They want a public outcry, we will show them a public outcry,” they said. “We have been quiet for too long and if the law doesn't take its course, we will.”

Kazi's father-in-law Hashim Motara broke down in tears and asked: “They say he should be let go because his mother is ill.... What about a mother that lost her son?

“We know where they stay...,” he said.

Another man shouted at Nortjie while he sat in court, waiting for the proceedings to continue.

“You are defending a murderer.... You are a disgrace to South Africa,” he said.

The Muslim crowd returned to court with placards, some of which read: “Justice delayed is justice denied”, and “No bail”.

Van Tonder and a female companion rushed out of court during the uproar.

Meanwhile, Motara fell ill outside the court. Breathing heavily, the elderly man was fanned by family members.

When court proceedings continued, 10 police officers were brought into the courtroom.

Dama said he had heard about the incident during the adjournment and described it as unfortunate.

“If you misbehave, you will be put in jail.... Conduct yourself in a civilised manner. This is a civilised court,” he said.

Earlier, Kazi's widow, Sajidah, broke down when the prosecution read out a statement detailing the injuries sustained by her husband.

The court was told that Kazi's ears, eyes, nose and upper lip were injured. He also had a skull fracture and his pancreas was damaged.

She sat at the back of the court and was comforted by her father.

Viviers, 28, who was dressed in a grey-and-white striped shirt, bowed his head when the court was told about the post mortem report.

Nortjie told the court that Viviers was not the one who had instigated the violence which led to Kazi's death. “It was private defence,” he said.

He said his client should be granted bail as he had an ailing mother for whom he needed to care.

Nortjie also told the court that there was a job waiting for Viviers should he be released from prison.

He maintained that his client was a responsible man who had always been co-operative and was not a flight risk.

At the end of proceedings, Nortjie said he would be stepping down as Viviers' attorney, but would continue as an instructing attorney to advocate Jack Gerber. - Sapa


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