By Mashudu Netsianda
One of the eight suspects linked to the recent botched armed robbery at the Bulawayo High Court has been denied bail pending trial.
Linience Clifford Nyoni (38) of Makokoba suburb in Bulawayo is believed to be part of the eight robbers that stormed the High Court armed with pistols.
They allegedly attacked and injured police officers manning the premises as they forced their way into the court building.
They blind-folded one of the cops and tied his hands and legs after failing to access the criminal registry.
Nyoni and his accomplices who are still at large allegedly used a grinder to try and gain entrance to the criminal registry where they intended to access the exhibit safe room. He was arrested after a plastic bag inscribed with his address was recovered at the scene of the crime.
He is an ex-convict for robbery under case number CRB8894-5/17.
Nyoni, through his lawyer Mr Thapelo Ndebele of Lazarus and Sarif, filed an application for bail pending trial at the Bulawayo High Court citing the State as a respondent.
Nyoni is facing charges of armed robbery.
Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Thompson Mabhikwa ruled that Nyoni was not a proper candidate for bail.
“Unfortunately, the applicant has not put the court into his confidence. He has not shown to be a good candidate for the granting of bail. The court is of the view that the State’s concerns and reasons for opposing bail are compelling,” he said.
Justice Mabhikwa said due to the gravity of the offence, Nyoni was likely to abscond if released on bail.
“In casu, the risk of abscondment become central in the determination of bail. As feared by the State, having attempted to rob the High Court of Bulawayo, the seriousness of the crime and the likely lengthy custodial sentence coupled with a strong prima facie case are factors likely to induce the applicant to flee once granted bail,” he said.
“Accordingly, the application for bail is hereby dismissed.”
In his bail statement, Nyoni denied the charges and argued that there were no compelling reasons warranting his continued detention.
He had offered to pay $2 000 bail and to report twice a week at Bulawayo Central Police Station as part of the bail conditions.
Nyoni argued that the bag allegedly inscribed with his residential address was neither found in his possession nor inscribed with his residential address. He said the bag was in the possession of one Thamsanqa Mpofu.
“All the reasons advanced by the State in opposing bail do not individually or cumulatively amount to compelling reasons to deny my client bail,” argued Mr Ndebele.
For the State, Ms Nokuthaba Ngwenya opposed the application, arguing that Nyoni was a flight risk. She said the State has strong prima facie case against Nyoni.
Ms Ngwenya said Nyoni tried to evade arrest after police announced their arrival and knocked three times on his locked door in Makokoba.
“They peeped through the window and noticed his movements under the bed. They had to break the window to gain entry into the room. While inside, police met a violent applicant who fought with them before they managed to subdue him,” she said.
According to court papers it was stated that on October 11, Nyoni who was in the company of seven accomplices still at large, went to the Bulawayo High Court building and found one Constable Manuel Muzamba manning the premises. Nyoni was armed with a pistol and pointed it at Const Muzamba threatening to shoot him in the event that he raised alarm.
Const Muzamba tried to wrestle with the suspects but they managed to overpower him before they indiscriminately assaulted him all over the body.
They tied him up using a robe before they proceeded to the criminal registry where they force opened the locked door. While inside, they unsuccessfully attempted to break the strong room using explosives.
They broke the safe handle and failed to open it before they abandoned the mission.
Nyoni was arrested after he left a plastic bag inscribed with his address. The other seven suspects are still on the run. The Chronicle.