Babita Deorakan murder case postponed after accused unable to consult lawyers

Babita Deokaran was shot and killed outside her home in Winchester Hills, southern Johannesburg last month.

Six suspects in the killing of Babita Deokaran made their first court appearance on 30 August 2021.

JOHANNESBURG - The case against six men accused of murdering senior Gauteng Health Department official, Babita Deokaran, has been postponed to next month.

Deokaran was shot and killed outside her home in Winchester Hills, southern Johannesburg last month.

It’s believed that she was targeted for blowing the whistle on a multimillion-rand PPE tender scandal.

The six men made a brief appearance in the Johannesburg Magistrates Court where it was revealed that they have only consulted with their lawyers twice due to challenges at the Johannesburg prison.

One of the lawyers attributed this challenge to a broken intercom system at the facility.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)’s Phindi Mjonondwane said: “It emerged in court that they were unable to consult with their clients, hence the request for a further postponement. The matter has been set for 1 and 5 October.”

Mjonondwane said that they could not rule out the possibility of making more arrests.

'UNFAVOURABLE' CIRCUMSTANCES

The six suspects, all from KwaZulu-Natal, made a brief appearance in court with the expectation of a formal bail application.

But the matter was delayed after defence lawyer, Shafique Sarlie, requested a postponement citing various reasons.

“The protocol that prevailed is that we are entitled to consult on a Friday. The circumstances is that we conduct it through bulletproof glass and intercoms,” Sarlie said.

The application was granted, with the court setting down the matter for the first week of next month.

Mjonondwana said that despite the delay they were ready to proceed when the matter returned to court.

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