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SA Rhino News and Articles

SA Rhino News and Articles
14 Sep

Policeman accused of poaching – no bail for a third time – September 10, 2015

By Helene Eloff

Apparently a persistent man, Mashele based his latest bail application on a medical condition.

WHITE RIVER – Const Arnold Mashele, a Skukuza policeman who allegedly conspired to commit rhino poaching, was denied bail in the White River Magistrate’s Court on Friday. This marked his third bail application. It was based on the Nelspruit prison’s alleged inability to cater for his medical needs.

Lowvelder previously reported that Const Arnold Mashele and Morris Sehlabela and former field ranger Mr Phineas Dinda had been arrested in the Kruger National Park on May 27 last year. Police reportedly found Dinda in the back of the police vehicle which the two policemen were driving. Their passenger was allegedly armed with a rifle, knives and a panga.

When the policemen were asked about the scenario, they claimed that Dinda was a poacher.

They failed to provide an explanation for the fact that he was heavily armed and riding in the back of their vehicle. The three were charged with illegal possession of firearms, illegal possession of ammunition, conspiracy to commit rhino poaching, trespassing and corruption. Their trial will continue in the Nelspruit Regional Court on November 25.

A fourth suspect, Const Dennis Mkhonto, was arrested in June last year. Mashele, Sehlabele and Dinda tried their luck in the first bail application on July 15. Magistrate Ms Winnie Baloyi denied their applications.

On July 22 magistrate, Mr Heki Ntombeni denied Mkhonto’s bail application in the same court.

Mashele tried again shortly after his first application was denied, but was not sucessful. Mashele, Sehlabela and Mkhonto appealed the refusal of their bail applications in the North Gauteng High Court, where judge Mr Francois Botes denied their applications.

Apparently a persistent man, Mashele based his latest bail application on a medical condition. When he appeared in the White River Magistrate’s Court on Friday, he said he was dependent on chronic medication and that the state had not assisted him with medication when it was due.

The state called professional nurse Mr John Sithole of the Nelspruit Correctional Centre, where Mashele was in custody. Although Sithole could not confirm whether Mashele had received his required medicine every day in the past, it was confirmed that provision was made for his current and future needs.

Baloyi denied Mashele’s bail again, stating that there was no threat to the accused’s health at the time of his application and therefore not sufficient grounds to grant bail.