Siam Lee murder trial heading to KwaZulu-Natal High Court
The man accused of murdering Durban North sex worker Siam Lee appeared briefly in the Durban Magistrate's Court on Friday.
Philani Ntuli, who is out on R40 000 bail, will appear in court again on November 14, when he will be served with an indictment. His case will then be transferred to the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban.
Ntuli, who faces a string of charges related to Lee's murder and others relating to his ex-fiancé, was arrested after Lee's body was discovered in a sugarcane field in New Hanover, KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, in January.
The State has submitted that Ntuli was Lee's last customer on the day of her disappearance. It alleges that Ntuli murdered Lee between January 4 and 6.
Ntuli, who had shaved his head bald when he appeared on Friday, was granted bail at his previous court appearance after Magistrate Mohamed Motala criticised the police and the private investigators who had arrested Ntuli for not following constitutional procedures during the arrest.
Motala said the exact date, time and place of Lee's murder had not yet been established.
The State submitted that it was opposing Ntuli's bail because of the public outrage the matter had generated.
In handing down judgment, Motala stressed that it was important for him to fulfil the oath of his office, without being influenced by public opinion.
He said the State, when it was opposing bail in the matter, had "relied heavily" on the evidence that was gathered on the same date of his arrest.
The court heard that the private investigators and the police had entered Ntuli's premises without a search warrant. Ntuli was not there at the time and the investigators had gained entry to his home without his knowledge, said Motala.
He said the State had also relied on some of the evidence that was removed from Ntuli's home, including his hired vehicle.
Ntuli's defence lawyer at the time, Martin Krog, had said he would challenge any "unconstitutionally obtained evidence" during Ntuli's trial, referring to evidence that was obtained at his home without the search warrant.
Motala asked why the investigating team didn't obtain a search warrant at the Pinetown Magistrate's Court, which is near Ntuli's home.
During his bail application Ntuli also said he was assaulted when he arrived at his home on the day of his arrest.
Ntuli was represented by Fathima Lockhat when he appeared on Friday.
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