CAPE TOWN, November 15 – The Cape Town Magistrate’s Court has banned the media from photographing the accused “at this stage” in the case against three men accused of the murder of top criminal defence advocate Pete Mihalik.
Magistrate Greg Jacobs turned down applications from several media houses to film proceedings and photograph the accused, Sizwe Biyela, 26, Nkosinathi Khumalo, 31, and taxi owner Vuyile Maliti, 35.
The trio face charges of premeditated murder, attempted murder, as well as the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition for the apparent hit on Mihalik as he dropped off his children at their private school in Green Point on October 30.
The first two suspects were arrested shortly after the murder of Mihalik, 50, who was shot in the head at point-blank range. Mihalik’s eight-year-old son sustained a gunshot wound to his jaw. The advocate’s teenage daughter, 17, who was in the back seat, was not injured.
The gunman fired a shot through the driver’s window of Mihalik’s Mercedes-Benz. Neighbours reported hearing two gunshots.
Maliti, who turned himself over to police on Wednesday last week, is from Kuils River in Cape Town, while the other two accused hail from Kwazulu-Natal and needed a Zulu interpreter during court proceedings.
On Thursday, state prosecutor Helene Booysen said an identity parade had not been finalised, but that she had no objections to proceedings being open to the public.
Magistrate Jacobs said the accused’s rights might be infringed, and therefore disallowed the photographing of the accused “at this stage”.
The case was postponed for two weeks for accused number two, Nkosinathi Khumalo, to obtain the services of a legal aid lawyer.
Accused number one, Sizwe Biyela, has also opted for legal aid, while the third accused has a private lawyer.
The three men will remain in separate prisons for their own safety.
Members of the anti-gang unit, heavily armed, were present and people were searched before entering courtroom 16.
The case will resume on November 29.
– African News Agency (ANA)