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Durban - A suspected murderer who was denied bail in the Durban Magistrate’s Court because of the seriousness of the charges against him is free after he was “accidentally” released from jail in a clerical error.

The justice department has confirmed it is investigating how Lebo Sibisi was given a J7 form, a warrant of detention document which reflects if bail has been refused or granted, which stated that he had been granted bail of R5 000.

This was after magistrate Kubashnie Dunn had refused his application.

Sibisi, 29, and his alleged accomplice, Khehla Calvin Mthalane, 27, are charged with murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

The charges relate to the murder of John Dwain Naidoo, 31, during a robbery at his home in Glenwood in September last year. It is alleged that at the time of the murder Sibisi was out on parole after serving part of his sentence for other offences.

In their bail application in December, both men claimed they had alibis. The State opposed bail as the prosecutor said CCTV video footage showed Sibisi, who allegedly made a confession to police, and Mthalane at Naidoo’s home during the robbery.

However, after the defence, prosecutor Blackie Swart, and Dunn had viewed the footage in January, the State opposed bail for Sibisi.

Dunn then granted bail to Mthalane on January 23, but both men were released.

Durban Magistrate’s Court manager Victor Hlatshwayo confirmed the incident was being investigated, but said in an e-mail that “no foul play was suspected”.

“The preliminary investigation was done. It was discovered that accused one (Sibisi) was refused bail and accused two (Mthalane) was granted bail and, when issuing the J7, the court clerk issued two J7s with fixed bail of R5 000 each, instead of one. The matter has been taken up with the investigating officer and a (warrant) has been issued to arrest the accused.”

National Prosecution Authority spokeswoman Natasha Ramkisson said they were aware that Sibisi had erroneously been granted bail but did not comment further.

Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said police were searching for Sibisi but no arrest had been made.

Both men were expected to appear in court on February 13.

The Mercury