By Sifiso Nhlabatsi | 2018-12-07
PRINCIPAL Magistrate David Khumalo will decide on December 17 whether businessman Sipho Shongwe should go home or not.
This comes after Shongwe’s legal team made serious arguments at the Manzini Magistrate’s Court yesterday.
His legal team argued that Shongwe was suffering injustice by being kept in prison, while the High Court made a ruling on the matter that he is not a flight risk, hence he should be granted bail which indeed was granted.
Making submissions was Lucky Howe, who told the court that the director of public prosecutions is conducting the trial in a very unprofessional manner and in an unethical way when he argues that the issue which touches on Shongwe escaping from custody was never mentioned at the High Court.
Howe revealed before court that the decision made by the High Court had spillages on the matter before the magistrate’s court, hence the magistrate could not proceed with the matter as its merits were argued and finalised at the High Court.
Principal Magistrate Khumalo sought clarification from Howe if he is suggesting that the court should hear the bail application and align its findings with that of the High Court, or he was saying let the magistrate’s court not hear the matter at all by simply abandoning it because it has been heard by the High Court.
Howe said bail must be heard, but the court must endorse the High Court decision.
Howe said it would be prejudice that the magistrate’s court would sit and argue on a matter that has been already argued at the High Court, while his client is denied his liberty as he is languishing in jail.
He pointed out that soon the courts will be closing and this will mean that the case might have to be heard next year. The Principal Crown Counsel Macebo Mxumalo submitted that they are opposing the application on grounds that the proceedings that are going to be used at the magistrate’s court are quite different from those to be used by the High Court.
The crown said this is because the case it is dealing with at the magistrate’s court is a case of extradition, while at the High Court it was a case of murder.
However, Howe corrected the crown by the pointing out that all that they are seeking for is bail and nothing else.
He said bail is just bail and it should be treated the same.
He said coming with the argument that accused is a flight risk was more like the crown shooting itself in the foot.
Howe said the matter is no different because the crown would be parading the same witnesses which were paraded at the High Court.
He said these witnesses were expected to deliver the same evidence which was delivered at the High Court.
During his submissions, Howe kept on insisting that his client should be set free. Howe said it still boggles his mind on how Shongwe was kept in prison while the High Court had issued an order that he be released on bail.
He said the correctional facility seem to have not abided by the law. After the arguments, the principal magistrate said he will make a ruling on December 17.
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