PRETORIA, August 25 – The judgement in the bail application of the Pretoria men accused of assaulting a black couple in Montana was postponed by the Pretoria North Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
Magistrate Motlhoki Rapulana listened to the final heads of argument in the bail application and said she needed time to go through the evidence presented, before making her decision on August 30.
State prosecutor Ronnie Sibanda argued that the men should not be released because their safety was not guaranteed and a sense of peace in the community would be undermined.
“Bail application should also be in the interest of the public as the incident occurred in the public arena, realising them undermines public order.”
Stephan Nel, 39, Joshua Scholtz, 21, and Dicky Junior van Rooyen, 21, are facing charges of attempted murder, assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm, and pointing a firearm. Their one co-accused, 23-year-old Marius Harding, has abandoned his bail application, while the other, 20-year-old Ockert Muller, has already been granted bail.
The men are accused of assaulting Jacob Sono and his wife Dudu at the KFC drive-through in Montana on August 2.
The attack happened earlier this month north of Pretoria and videos of the incident have gone viral on social media. It has trended on Twitter with the hashtag #KFCAssault
An investigating officer in the matter, Constable William Tladi, previously testified during the bail application and told the court that Sono could have died from the attack.
He said Sono bled through his mouth and ears after he was attacked at the fast food outlet.
The officer was the second to testify on Friday in opposition to the bail application of the men.
Tladi told the court that accused number one, Stephen Nel, had arrived at the scene when the brawl had started but he went on to point a firearm at Sono, before hitting him, together with his co-accused.
“That is why I came to oppose bail. A person could die from being beaten in the head,” Tladi said at that time.
Advocate Francois Kriel for Schultz had argued that Sono was treated for a bump on his head, and a burst membrane in his ear which healed in a few days.
He maintained that the injuries were not serious or life threatening.
The officer told the court that the assailants did not only use physical attacks, but also hurled verbal racial insults at the couple.
“They said she is a bitch, and that she doesn’t know what she was doing. They also insulted her by her skin colour,” Tladi told the court.
The magistrate then asked Tladi to tell the court the exact words used in reference to Dudu’s skin colour. Tladi responded: “They called her a swart gat [black ass].”
Despite these allegations, there were no charges relating to racism and crimen injuria listed on the charge sheet.
However, Nel’s lawyer, Nols Nolte, told the court that Tladi was not familiar with the details of the case and had just been instructed to come to court and oppose bail.
“In fairness to you, I want to put it to you that you are just doing what you have been told to do,” Nolte told the court.
Nolte asked why there was no charge of crimen injuria if Dudu Sono was insulted, as stated in the police version.
Tladi said he was not the one who wrote down the complainant’s statements, or formulated the charges. He said the docket was handed to him to investigate.