South African cop accused of shooting his two lovers succeeds in getting magistrate in Durban trial to recuse herself – Officer Mlungisi Blessing Sikhakane is accused of killing the two women 18 and 24, in October
Durban cop accused of shooting his two lovers asks magistrate to recuse herself
Police officer Mlungisi Blessing Sikhakane is accused of killing two women
Police constable Blessing Sikhakane, 27, appeared in the Pinetown magistrate’s court
Sikhakane faces two counts of murder for allegedly shooting Njabulenhle Majozi, 18, and Sthembile Ngobese, 24, in the KwaNyuswa area of Durban in October, 2022
He had been dating both women whose bodies were found in his home on Oct. 13, both with gunshot wounds to the head and arms, police said
Mlungisi Sikhakhane is alleged to have lured both women into his home, where he killed them
Sikhakhane’s attorney Manoj Haripersad asked magistrate Gwendolyn Robinson to recuse herself for fear of bias because the father of Majozi – one of the victims – works at the same court
Magistrate Robinson recused herself from the case and said arrangements would be made for another magistrate to hear the matter on Thursday
The bail application for a KwaZulu-Natal police officer accused of killing two women romantically linked to him was postponed after his attorney asked the magistrate to recuse herself on Monday.
The defendant Mlungisi Blessing Sikhakane, 27, a police constable with the SAPS stationed at the Hillcrest Police Station in KwaZulu-Natal, is facing two counts of murder.
He appeared in the Pinetown magistrate’s court, facing two counts of murder for allegedly shooting Njabulenhle Enhle Majozi, an 18-year-old recent high school graduate, and law student Sthembile Ngobese, 24, in the KwaNyuswa in last month.
The bodies of the women, who were in a relationship with the police officer, were found inside his residence. The women’s lifeless bodies were both found lying on the floor at Sikhakhane’s residence on October 14, with gunshot wounds.
Police said the two women suffered gunshot wounds in their arms and heads: “Both deceased women had gunshot wounds on their arms and heads. Eleven empty cartridges, four bullet heads and a porn video were found at the scene of the house,” said police spokesperson, Lizzy Suping.
The killing allegedly happened in on October 13. It is further alleged that Sikhakane shot Ngobese first and Majozi tried to run away. He then shot her outside then dragged her back into the house to create a fake crime scene. The bodies were discovered the next day.
Sikhakhane’s attorney Manoj Haripersad asked magistrate Gwendolyn Robinson to recuse herself for fear of bias as Majozi’s father works at the court.
While Majozi’s father, Sandile Oscar Msomi, 37, works in another courtroom, Haripersad said his client feared Msomi might have interacted with other staff members or the magistrate about the matter.
“My client doesn’t believe there will be a fair prosecution. He believes the magistrate might be biased in dealing with the matter. My client is also not certain whether the magistrate might have interacted with staff in the courtroom,” said Haripersad.
Robinson said she doesn’t interact with most staff beside those in her own courtroom.
“I’m here to deal with the law, not the staff. I do not foresee any bias but if that is a perception, I don’t want to infringe on anyone’s rights,” she said.
The state did not oppose Sikhakhane’s objection to the magistrate.
Robinson recused herself from the case and said arrangements would be made for another magistrate to hear the matter on Thursday.
The court was packed with family members and relatives, while community members were picketing outside demanding that bail be denied.
Speaking outside court, Msomi welcomed the postponement and said he understood why the application was brought before court.
“Maybe it’s a good thing that we get a magistrate from outside so that when it comes to a verdict, we won’t have any questions. If he is found guilty by a magistrate who is not someone linked to me, that would be a good thing because he is definitely not getting out of this one,” said Msomi.
The motive behind the double-homicide has not been stated. Ngobese’s best friend Sibusisiwe Dlamini, 26, said they had known each other since 2013 and also knew the policeman in high school.
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