Dr Nandipha Magudumana faced a significant setback on Tuesday as the High Court in Bloemfontein firmly rejected her bail appeal application.
Bail Appeal Denied
This legal setback follows Magudumana’s legal team’s pursuit of an appeal in the Supreme Court of Appeal after the initial ruling by the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court, which had denied her bail.
Concerns of Flight Risk
During her initial bail application in September, the court expressed concerns regarding Magudumana’s potential flight risk, emphasizing her possession of the “necessary means” and “know-how” to leave the country. Her arrest in Tanzania, accompanied by her partner, the convicted rapist and murderer Thabo Bester, only amplified these concerns.
Thabo Bester, infamously known for faking his death at the Mangaung Correctional Centre and escaping in May 2022, played a central role in this high-profile case. The court argued that Magudumana had a pivotal role in Bester’s prison escape, and if released, she could potentially access the resources needed to engineer another escape, especially as he would frequently be transported to and from court from the prison.
According to Groundup, the magistrate stressed that, despite Magudumana’s claims of being taken across borders against her will by Bester, she demonstrated knowledge of evading detection. Together, they managed to convince numerous individuals to aid them and navigate several border posts without raising suspicion.
Judge Jordaan Affirms Ruling
Acting High Court Judge Melissa Jordaan, during Tuesday’s proceedings, upheld the validity of the original ruling and the reasoning behind it. Consequently, the appeal was dismissed, ensuring that Magudumana would remain in custody.
In her initial ruling, Judge De Lange had echoed the sentiment that Magudumana posed a substantial flight risk and displayed an ability to cross borders without the need for passports.
Dr. Nandipha Magudumana’s hopes for bail have been dashed as the High Court in Bloemfontein stands firm in denying her appeal. Concerns of being a flight risk and her involvement in a high-profile escape case have weighed heavily against her, leaving her in custody.
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