Whether or not a pilot who drove into two pedestrians in Port Elizabeth before fleeing can be released on bail relies heavily on the fact that he was in the country illegally.
Given this, his lawyers took another shot at convincing the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday that it was in the interest of justice to release Kelvin Zirema, 32, pending the outcome of his trial.
The matter had been set down for a ruling on bail, but was postponed to next week when defence advocate Hannelie Bakker opted to present further argument in relation to the Zimbabwean national’s status in SA.
Zirema’s visa had expired nine months ago and his Zimbabwean passport was due to expire in August.
Bakker said this was the only reason why the state had been opposed to bail.
While Zirema was guilty of being an “over-stayer”, he could renew his passport without having to leave SA, she said.
Bakker then referred to the murder trial before the Port Elizabeth High Court, involving two German nationals.
She said in that case Kristina Adler had been granted bail and that her status in the country would only be dealt with once the case had been finalised.
Zirema, who obtained his pilot’s licence from the APTRAC Aviation Academy in March 2010, has admitted to driving the car that smashed into and killed Anthony Agbo, 35, during the early hours of May 11, after making a U-turn in Beach Road, in front of the McDonald’s.
A second pedestrian was injured.
Zirema fled the scene, allegedly out of fear for his safety.
He said he was then arrested moments before he was to hand himself over to the police.
Judgment will be delivered on Wednesday next week.