Stimela, Nkuna's walk to freedom delayed

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LOBATSE: Thabo Stimela and Aubrey Nkuna's bid to regain their freedom has been delayed for two days. Stimela and Nkuna had expected Lobatse High Court Judge Michael Leburu to hear their bail pending trial case on Friday.

However, that was not to be as the state requested for some time to peruse the documents filed by Stimela and Nkuna before responding. Stimela and Nkuna have reinforced their defence team by roping in advocate Sydney Pilane and Mmusi Kgafela to their team of Moses Kadye and Unoda Mack.

Pilane tried to have the case moved forward, but Leburu turned him down. Further Pilane took issue with the presence of the Special Support Group (SSG) police officers. "My Lord we would like to raise our concerns with the presence of the uniformed police officers (SSG) in your court. The court proceedings should be conducted in a place where an accused person would not feel intimidated and the atmosphere in your court should remain dignified but it is not the case here," Pilane submitted.

He said the officers should wait outside as the accused were in capable hands of the prison warders and general duties police officer. "We don't care whether they climb on top of the court room or whereever they choose," Pilane said.

However, his request was also turned down.Leburu said the presence of the officers (SSG) would not cloud the court's judgement in dealing with the case. Stimela, Nkuna and Kegone Sebina are facing a single count of murder after the death of Lesley Manga Ntswane. It is alleged that Ntswane's death at Princess Marina Hospital was caused by injuries he suffered at the hands of the trio at Sebina's farmhouse in Malotwane on May 21.

They have since been committed for trial at the High Court. It is not the first time for Stimela and Nkuna to apply for bail pending trial. They were first denied bail by Mochudi magistrate Game Yuyi when they appeared at the magistrate's court.

They then moved to apply for bail at the High Court after Yuyi rejected their request. Lobatse High Court judge Lot Moroka also denied them bail.

Denying them bail then, Yuyi said the two were a flight risk as they might escape back to their country to avoid prosecution. She said it had been brought to the attention of the court that Stimela had dual citizenship and travels on a Botswana passport, thus making him a flight risk if granted bail. For Nkuna, she said all his assets were in his native South Africa and he would probably return home if the court gave him bail. State attorney Ambrose Mubika and Mmapatsi Tshimologo represent the state.

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