Meersig Kidnapping Accused Get Bail

THE three remaining accused persons facing counts of kidnapping and assault of three minors at Walvis Bay were each granted N$2 000 bail yesterday on condition that they do not interact with the victims and witnesses.

Magistrate Andre Matulich ruled in favour of the bail application by Logan Pretorius (25), Curven Vries (20) and Ashley Januarie (20) in the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s court.

A fourth accused, 18-year old Sandra Riobo, was already granted bail of N$2 000 without conditions on 4 September.

The four were arrested on 30 August for allegedly holding three boys, aged 14 and 15, against their will for nearly six hours at Pretorius’ house on 28 August where the minors were allegedly beaten with fists, a shovel, a hammer and a panga.

They were also allegedly forced to drink salt water (seasoned with pepper sauce), which caused them to vomit, and were also allegedly forced to lick their own vomit before they were pitted against dogs.

Pretorius said he and his friends believed the minors killed one of his dogs on that fateful day, and attempted to steal the other dogs.

He said after catching the boys – who fled from his house – they threatened to hand them over to the police. The boys, he further said, begged not to be handed over to the police.

They then took the boys back to Prestorius’ house and questioned them for less than an hour. Pretorius admitted that he hit one of the boys, but denied all the other allegations.

The state contested the bail applications on the grounds of the seriousness of the crime, public interest and possible interference with the investigation, while Aocate Masiza, representing the accused, argued that his clients were the victims because of the lies of the boys and the witnesses.

Masiza, during his questioning of witnesses, said that the allegations were all based on the versions of the minors, who were at the wrong place at the wrong time.

He also argued that no immediate action was taken by the parents and the police to ensure that the minors received medical and psychological treatment for their alleged trauma and for the arrest of the suspects two days after the incident.

Masiza also questioned why the medical report of the doctor who treated the minors was released nearly two weeks after the boys were admitted for treatment.

He argued that his clients were no threat to the witnesses or the public and that the seriousness of the crime was as a result of non-factual versions related by the boys to their parents and the media.

State Prosecutor Faith Chipepera-Nyaungwa counter-argued, stating that the accused would disregard bail conditions the same way they allegedly disregarded the normal course of justice when they held the minors, instead of turning them over to the police when they were suspected of committing a crime (killing and stealing dogs).

She also argued that the accused would interfere with the investigation and witnesses after witnesses claimed that relatives of the accused had already made contact with the relatives of the minors, seemingly offering to pay for the medical treatment of the boys and wanting to talk with the possibility of settling the matter out of court.

She said the alleged crimes were very serious, for which the accused could face a prison sentence.

After the arguments were heard, Magistrate Matulich granted bail to the accused.

Source : The Namibian