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‘Revoke fire accused’s bail’

Shelton “Bassie” April (34), the man accused of starting the devastating fire in Betty’s Bay at the beginning of the year, appeared in court yesterday.

The state requested the revoking of his bail application, saying he did not adhere to his bail conditions, which prohibited him from entering Betty’s Bay, where he was spotted recently.

Asked by the judge if anyone had complained that they were intimidated by April, the investigating officer said he received no such complaints.

A widely anticipated charge of culpable homicide for the death of a man who perished in the fire did not materialise, for the family of the deceased declined to make any statement.

April, who is from Betty’s Bay, is accused of firing a flair into the mountains above Betty’s Bay on 31 December 2018. He is charged with contravention of the Environmental Management Act.

This the state sees in a serious light as 41 houses were destroyed and 28 houses seriously damaged in the fire. An estimated 12 800 ha of fynbos was also destroyed and serious damage to the Kogelberg biosphere caused.

April was arrested near his home in Mooiuitsig on 3 January, some two days after the fire. WO Martin Mostert, spokesperson for Kleinmond police, said earlier this year the arrest was made following statements made by witnesses who allegedly saw April fire two flares at midnight on New Year’s Eve.

At the time of going to print the case was underway and bail conditions were under discussion.

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