The state yesterday failed to convince the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court that the 14 Passenger Rail Agency of SA guards, arrested for allegedly trying to rob the agency’s headquarters in the city, should be denied bail.
Magistrate Mali Mokoena disagreed with state prosecutor Tshomela Lizo that the members of the agency’s “business intelligence unit” were a flight risk and intimidated witnesses.
She released the suspects on R2 000 bail each and ordered that they don’t interfere with, or have any contact with witnesses.
The magistrate agreed with the defence that “the purpose of bail was to secure the attendance of court and not punishment”.
She said it was not in the interest of justice to keep the guards in custody since their addresses had been confirmed.
Lizo had argued the group was a threat to witnesses and that threats had been made in court. But the magistrate said there was no proof that the accused made the threats.
The group was arrested after they allegedly pointed firearms at guards, tied them up and demanded keys to the agency’s parked fleet.