Durban - Two of the three men allegedly involved in the murder of a Parlock man by cold-bloodedly shooting him in the head, then disposing of his vehicle, have been granted bail.
Leeroy Smith, 26, Ryan Santos, 19, and Marlin Ballentine, 26, appeared at the Ntuzuma Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
Smith and Ballentine were granted bail of R10 000 and R3 000 respectively, while Santos abandoned his bid for bail.
The three men are charged with the premeditated murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances of Seshen Govender, 21, on the evening of March 10 in Parlock.
The State alleges the men accosted Govender with the intention of robbing him of jewellery that he was selling. It is alleged Smith shot Govender multiple times in the head before the men disposed of his vehicle in KwaMashu.
Yesterday, investigating officer, Sergeant Andre Moses, testified why he was opposed to bail. He indicated the State was only opposed to bail for Smith, as investigations revealed that Ballentine played no role in the robbery or murder.
Moses said Ballentine’s charges could be reduced to accessory after the fact at a later stage, as there was no evidence linking him to the robbery or murder.
In opposing bail for Smith, the policeman said there was a strong case against him.
Moses claimed he had evidence placing Smith at the scene of the shooting and the area where the vehicle was found. His evidence also revealed that Smith was the last person in the company of Govender. There were also witness statements implicating Smith.
Defence attorney Ridewaan Sayed, acting for Smith, questioned the strength of Moses’s evidence. Moses conceded the ballistics report for Smith’s licensed firearm was still outstanding, and that it was not the murder weapon. He also admitted he had no physical evidence against him, and some of the stolen items found were not linked to Smith.
Sayed told Moses it was possible there were more people with the deceased at the time of the incident. Smith claimed in his affidavit in support of bail that he had an alibi in that he was in the company of a friend called Derrick.
Ballentine’s attorney, Leo Govender, submitted an affidavit in which Ballentine claimed he was unaware that anyone had been killed when he met the co-accused. He was just requested to give Smith a lift, and was in no way involved in the robbery and murder. He intends to plead not guilty.
In his decision on bail, the magistrate said at this stage there was no direct evidence implicating Smith and nothing implicating Ballentine. Both men have been ordered not to interfere with any witnesses while Smith has to report twice a week to Newlands East SAPS.