FS High Court reverses #Senekal protester’s bail denial

The Bloemfontein High Court has on Monday granted bail to the 51-year-old Senekal protester, André Pienaar, reversing the Senekal Magistrate’s Court’s ruling on the matter.

OFM News reports that Judge Celeste Reinders ruled that Pienaar should be released on bail of R15 000, effectively setting aside Senekal Magistrate Buti Mlangeni’s order on bail. Reinders found that Pienaar’s legal team, led by Advocate Jacques Potgieter, succeeded in showing that the 51-year-old former farmer and businessman was in fact not a flight risk as suggested by the state.

Reinders further dismissed the state’s allegations that Pienaar has attempted to influence witnesses as nothing more than concerns. She further added that prior to the denial of bail, there was an agreement by the respective parties that should bail be granted it would be at R15 000. Hence the bail amount granted by the Bloemfontein High Court Judge.

Potgieter and Pienaar’s family members could be seen celebrating the judgment, with the Advocate saying over the phone that they are extremely happy at the outcome.

During the appeal last week, Pienaar’s legal team submitted that Magistrate Mlangeni erred in not applying the presumption of innocent until proven guilty as enshrined in the Constitution.

Potgieter detailed at least six factors to Reinders in which he says the Senekal Magistrate made certain findings without evidence. He said there was no evidence that the female court personnel was attacked in the October 6 unrest, and that the Magistrate misdirected himself in the evaluation of where the interest of justice lies by considering unproven, unsubstantiated factual findings.

In her judgment on Monday, Reinders agreed that Pienaar was indeed innocent until proven guilty.

Pienaar is set to reappear in the Senekal Magistrate’s Court on 20 November.