Bail battle looms in Ketani case

A battle for bail looms as prosecutors await the outcome of DNA tests to boost their case.

Forensic experts excavate Betty Ketani's grave. Picture: Alex Eliseev/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Police and prosecutors in the Betty Ketani murder case are still waiting for the outcome of DNA tests being conducted in Bosnia, Europe while a fresh court battle over bail is looming.

Ketani, a mother of three, is believed to have been killed more than 13 years ago and buried in a shallow grave filled with concrete.

Six men accused of her murder were arrested last year after a letter, believed to be a confession, surfaced from under a carpet at a home in Southern Joburg.

Betty Ketani's body is believed to have been dug up and disposed of several years after her murder in 1999.

In August last year prosecutors revealed that several small bones found where the shallow grave once was have been sent for specialised DNA tests in Bosnia.

The state is ready to proceed with or without the results, or a body, but a positive link would boost its case.

At the same time prosecutors for one of the key suspects who lives in Australia have made contact with the prosecution team raising questions about a possible deal.

The trial is due to begin in July while one of the suspects here in South Africa, Carrignton Laughton is now planning to approach the Supreme Court of appeal in a bid to secure bail.

In his appeal, Laughton disputed being the author of the confession in an attempt to weaken the state's case.

In October 2012, a South Gauteng High Court judge ruled that three of the six men arrested in connection with the Ketani's murder were "too dangerous" to be released on bail.

The confession letter, signed by one of the accused, contained specific details about Ketani's abduction and murder.

A man who rented the Kenilworth house is also one of the accused.

The letter further revealed that at least two other victims were abducted.

A date for the next phase of this legal battle could emerge this week.


Eyewitness News has also learnt that lawyers for one of the key suspects made contact with local prosecutors in Australia.

One of Australia's best known advocates, David Galbally QC, has been hired by Monique Neeteson-Lemkes.

Galbally has written to advocate Herman Broodryk and his team requesting documents relating to the case.

Neeteson-Lemkes is a prominent but controversial union leader in the airline industry in Australia and is mentioned as a key suspect in the Betty Ketani murder trial.

It's still unclear whether she's planning to strike a deal with prosecutors or whether an attempt to extradite her to South Africa will be made.