A former South African Air Force colonel accused of blowing up his wife with a hand grenade was granted bail in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court on Tuesday.
Joel Mahoasa was granted bail of R5 000 after Judge Phillip Nkosi overturned a September 15 ruling in the Durban Magistrates’ Court that denied him bail. In the early hours of August 31, Mahoase is alleged to have thrown two hand grenades into the kitchen of his Amanzimtoti home.
One of these exploded, mortally wounding his wife Lesego. Magistrate Vanitha Armu said at the time she did not believe releasing Mahoasa on bail was in the interests of justice, even though the prosecution had not opposed his bail application. At the time she said: “This is a callous act of murder. This is not your average case of murder.”
However, in his submission to the KZN High Court, advocate Paul Jorgensen said Armu had assumed that his client was guilty. “On a reading of the [magistrate’s] court’s judgment, the impression is gained that the magistrate had already found the appellant guilty of the offences for which he was charged,” Jorgensen said.
Mahoasa has yet to stand trial on the charges of murder and unlawful possession of explosives. “It offended the sensibilities of this particular presiding officer [Armu] to grant the appellant [Mahoasa] bail.”
Jorgensen argued that Armu had ignored that two hands are required to pull the pin out of a grenade and his client did not have proper use of one arm.