While there have been worldwide calls for Lee’s alleged killer to be denied bail, via the #JusticeforSiamLee online campaign, an activist from Australia, Gaydre Scholtz, attended proceedings at the Durban Magistrate’s Court this week. Scholtz, who is holidaying in the city, heard about Lee’s death last month, while she was in the US and decided to attend.
The 29-year-old accused made another court appearance on Friday.
“I have a daughter who is the same age as Siam and her death got to me because she is someone’s child too.
“I decided to attend court and support the campaign against the alleged killer getting bail. I wish I could attend the formal bail application hearing but I leave to Australia at the end of this month.”
The accused, who cannot be named because rape has since been added to the list of charges he faced, blew kisses at his family in the gallery when he stood in the dock.
However, he shook his head in disagreement when State prosecutor Sureka Marimuthu informed magistrate Mohamed Motala about the rape charge.
It is alleged the suspect abducted Lee from a house on Margaret Maytom Avenue on January 4. Two days later, her charred remains were found on a farm in New Hanover in the Midlands.
Charges brought against the suspect include murder, kidnapping, crimen injuria and intimidation.
Tears rolled down the face of Lee’s mother, Nan, who was seated in the front row, when the charges were read.
Advocate Brad Osborne, who represented the suspect, appealed to the court to prevent the media from publishing his client’s picture because of an additional rape charge.
“We do not know the age of the (other) alleged victim, so it is best that the accused is not photographed, to protect the victim’s rights,” Osborne requested.
The accused, who was dressed in a grey suit, nodded his head in agreement with Osborne’s suggestion.
The court heard that the man would prefer to be detained at Pietermaritzburg’s New Prison, not Westville, when moved from the Durban North police station cells, where he is being held.
During his previous appearance before Motala, he claimed that he had been subjected to continuous torture and assault from the time of his arrest on January 17.
He was remanded in custody until the scheduled formal bail hearing on March 7 and 8.