File photo: African News Agency (ANA).

CAPE TOWN -  Three men, accused of murdering prominent lawyer Pete Mihalik, were denied bail in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Monday. 

The case against Sizwe Biyela, 26, Nkosinathi Khumalo, 31, from Kwazulu-Natal, and taxi business owner Vuyile Maliti, 35, was transferred to the Western Cape High Court and postponed to August 12.

The courtroom was packed, with some journalists forced to sit on the floor. Security was also tight with police frisking people and searching handbags before they were allowed to enter. The three accused are being kept in different prisons for their own safety. 

Mihalik, 50, was a criminal lawyer who represented some of the Cape's most notorious gangsters. He was shot in the head at point-blank range on the morning of October 30, last year as he dropped his children off at their private Reddam House school in Green Point. 

His eight-year-old son sustained a gunshot wound to his jaw but has since recovered. The advocate's 17-year-old daughter, who was in the back seat, was not injured. 

The gunman fired a shot through the driver's window of Mihalik's Mercedes-Benz although neighbours reported hearing two gunshots.

The State believes the murder was premeditated. In the charge sheet, the State alleges that the accused intentionally killed Mihalik by shooting him in the head with a firearm and that the offence "was committed by a person, group of persons, or syndicate acting in the execution or furtherance of a common purpose or conspiracy". 

In the attempted murder charge, the State alleged that the accused intentionally attempted to kill Mihalik's son by "shooting him in the face/head with a firearm and thereby inflicting serious and potentially life-threatening injuries". 

The third and fourth charges relate to the accused's alleged possession of a 9mm unlicensed firearm and ammunition. 

African News Agency (ANA)