Bronx accused should get bail: defence

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IOL  ct Bronx Suspect 0533 (23028343) CAPE TIMES Murder accused Achmat Toffa. Photo: Jeffrey Abrahams

Cape Town -

There was no reason to deny bail to one of the men accused of murdering gay nightclub owner Bruno Bronn, the Cape Town District Court heard on Thursday.

William Booth, for Achmat Toffa, 35, said it could not be proven that his client had threatened any witnesses or interfered with the State's case.

If he made contact with witnesses, it was because he had not known they were witnesses or that the court had not strictly forbidden him from doing so, he said.

Investigating officer Mervyn Bezuidenhout, who was on the stand, said phone records and a voice recording proved that Toffa had made contact with a co-accused and witness.

“The accused did indeed try to connive with witnesses behind the State's back,” the officer said.

Booth said evidence of a phone call did not prove that threats had been made. The phone conversation could have been about the weather.

Toffa and three others Ä Johan Frederick Coetzer, 36, Fareez Allie, 29, and Kurt Erispe, 32 Ä are accused of killing Bronn in his Green Point home in February. Bronn owned The Bronx, a gay nightclub.

His co-accused are all out on bail.

Booth said Toffa should be granted bail because he had previously abided by court orders to appear.

Toffa had not been considered a flight risk in two cases of drug possession or while on trial for assault.

The court heard he was convicted of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm in March 2009.

He was given the option of a R2000 fine or a year's jail term, both suspended for five years.

The defence said Toffa had made all his appearances.

However, Bezuidenhout said his track record proved little.

“The accused hasn't been arrested (before) for such a serious offence and there is a chance (he will flee),” he said.

He also said Toffa would at least not be able to physically harm someone if denied bail.

The bail application hearing was postponed until Friday. - Sapa

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