Suspect orderly’s bail hits glitch

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SA orderly INLSA ON TENTERHOOKS: Tshego Japhta Marule at the Johannesburg Magistrates Court yesterday. The court orderly allegedly handed over explosives that were used to bomb a police van. Picture: Boxer Ngwenya

MPILETSO MOTUMI

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THE COURT orderly accused of involvement in last month’s police van bomb blast that resulted in the killing of three prisoners will only know whether he’ll be granted bail after a video from the holding cells is shown in court.

Tshego Japhta Marule, 29, appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court yesterday to apply for bail after he was charged with three counts of murder by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate following the October 22 incident. Marule and six other accused also face 29 counts of attempted murder, unlawful possession of explosives and assistance in an escape attempt.

Three prisoners died and four were critically injured after an explosive device blew up a police truck carrying 36 suspects awaiting trial. The truck was on its way to Johannesburg Central Prison from the Randburg Magistrate’s Court.

The orderly’s bail application was postponed after the state prosecutor asked Magistrate Paul du Plessis to allow video footage from the day of the blast to be shown. Du Plessis said footage from the holding cell the prisoners were in on October 22 was being processed.

One of two witnesses could not identify Marule at an identity parade at the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on Friday. The other witness identified him during an “informal” parade.

“The only verifiable testimony is a single testimony,” said Du Plessis. He said it would be inappropriate to grant Marule bail before seeing the video footage.

Defence lawyer Jacques van Heerden gave two possible scenarios for the explosives landing up in the truck with the prisoners. “A court orderly providing the items or a family friend smuggling in the explosives,” he said.

Van Heerden said the Randburg court gallery was directly behind the dock and someone could have passed the explosives to the prisoners.

It is believed that Marule put the explosive device in the prison van.

Du Plessis said no clothing had been confiscated from Marule. It should have been done, because traces of the explosives would have been on his hands or clothes.

“The allegations need to be confirmed by the forensics,” he said.

Directorate spokesman Moses Dlamini said they believed they had a strong case against the suspect and were still investigating the matter. He said more arrests might be made during the investigation.

The case was postponed to November 27.


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