Dr Nandipha Magudumana’s bid for freedom was dealt another blow after the Free State High Court on Tuesday dismissed her appeal against the decision by the Bloemfontein magistrate’s court to deny her bail.
In September, the lower court denied Magudumana bail, stating that she was a flight risk and had demonstrated the necessary means and know-how to leave the country, as evidenced by her audacious cross-border trip with her boyfriend Thabo Bester, an escaped prisoner, earlier this year.
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Magistrate Estelle de Lange made it clear that no bail conditions would assist in ensuring Magudumana’s attendance at trial. She further stated that Magudumana had failed to satisfy the court that her release on bail would serve the interests of justice.
Acting judge Melissa Jordaan, in agreement with the decision, stated that she found no error in the ruling made by De Lange. According to the SABC, Jordaan deemed it the correct decision to take.
Magudumana’s legal representatives had argued that there were errors made by the magistrate in her ruling, particularly regarding corruption allegations. However, the high court dismissed these arguments, with Jordaan stating that she found no fault in De Lange’s ruling.
Magudumana’s lawyers reiterated their claim that there was no evidence of corruption or flight risk. This was similar to the argument made during her unsuccessful bail application, where her defence advocate, Frans Dlamini, highlighted the lack of evidence in the charge sheet and the investigating officer’s affidavit.
The high court ruling comes two weeks after the Supreme Court of Appeal decided to hear Magudumana’s appeal against the judgment that found South African courts retain criminal jurisdiction over her. If successful, this appeal could potentially allow Magudumana to escape a criminal trial in South Africa.
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