The accused appeared before the court for the first time since their arrest on Tuesday
A female traffic police officer, 29, from Daveyton in Ekurhuleni was among the three people who appeared on Thursday at the Benoni magistrate’s court on charges of kidnapping a religious leader.
The accused appeared before the court for the first time since their arrest on Tuesday, following the rescue of Tahseen Mateen Lardame, 28, from a house in Katlehong. Kardame, a maulana (Muslim religious leader), was kidnapped outside his father’s hardware franchise in Benoni on November 12.
The police multidisciplinary integrated task team was immediately activated and they managed to trace the kidnap victim to Katlehong.
Police have since said that the victim was rescued without any ransom being paid.
The officer was arrested in Daveyton by the specialised crime intelligence unit and the SAPS. Another two suspects could not appear in court as they are still in hospital after their arrest.
The accused are charged with kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances and assault with intent to commit grievous bodily harm. They cannot be named as they still have to go through an identity parade, as advised by state prosecutor Vuyokazi Nongqayi on Thursday.
The three appeared looking nervous, wearing buffer masks covering their faces. The traffic officer arrived wearing a big black hoodie and track pants, while the two male suspects covered their faces with their hands, facing the floor throughout the court proceedings.
Their matter was postponed to December 7 for further consultation with legal representatives and for an identity parade.
After reading out the docket in court and officially charging the suspects, magistrate Leonie Sheppard said that all the suspects, including the ones who were not in court, were facing serious charges and would have to make a compelling case for the court to consider bail.
“A schedule six offence is a high rating criminal offence and that on its own means a suspect should present compelling evidence and circumstances for bail to be granted,” said Sheppard.
Sheppard said the minimum prison sentence for a schedule six offence was 15 to 20 years.
“The nature of the offences and assault means you will get no conviction less than that should the court find all of you guilty,” she said.
The suspects are all SA nationals aged between 29 and 72 years of age. One of them is a cash-in-transit robber who was out on bail.