A Mpumalanga magistrate presiding over an emotional bail application hearing of a 32-year-old man accused of murdering a 26-year-old Badplaas man, on Sunday morning, has used Oscar Pistorius’ example to grant bail to the accused.

Maseko (pictured) from the Badplaas area was killed on Sunday morning at the Disco tavern after being stabbed in the neck.

On the same Sunday Badplaas police arrested Solly Nkosi and charged him with Maseko’s murder. The cops were allegedly assisted by witnesses who saw Maseko being stabbed.

Magistrate Godfrey Netshiozwi said granting bail didn’t mean justice will not be served and that “the accused should not be regarded as punished now before trial”.

“It means he has to wait for his day in court,” Netshiozwi said.

“There is no ground to refuse the accused bail. Every person is assumed innocent until proven guilty,” he said on Wednesay, adding that in the Oscar Pistorius case “some of our struggle icons were busy demonstrating outside court that the accused be not given bail but bail was given”.

Earlier the Carolina Magistrates Court heard that the Badplaas community was feeling retaliatory towards the accused and that it was too early to grant the accused bail before Maseko’s burial in the coming weekend.

“I need to state that I’m the custodian of justice. Everyone must be ensured of their safety. The public must understand without emotional attachment that justice will be served”, he said to a highly emotional court gallery packed with Maseko’s relatives and friends.

“Oscar Pistorius was an international icon. It was a cold-blooded murder because she was a defencelss young lady who was shot inside a toilet, but bail was granted and the presiding officer in that case didn’t allow the opinion of the public to decide on the matter. It is only the legal principles that allow the accused bail, not me”.

Netshiozwi added: “The court does not regard one principle but many principles which guide bail applications, including the propensity to commit crime”.

During the bail hearing Nkosi through his lawyer told the court he does not have a previous or pending case, a statement which was then confirmed by Badplaas police investigators.

“Should the court refuse bail just because the community is outraged? This doesn’t have grounds to refuse the accused bail and I wish to appeal to the community not interfere in the matter,” reminding the courtroom he was a custodian of justice and that granting bail ”doesn’t mean justice will not be served”.

“It means he has to wait for his day in court,” Netshiozwi repeated.

Nkosi was then released on a R1 500 bail and is expected back in court on 28 September.

(edited by ZK)

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