Goddard’s fourth bail appeal succeeds

Former school counsellor Darren Goddard fourth bail application has succeeded

Goddard has been in custody since his arrest in June last year. Three of his previous bail applications failed prompting his defence team led by advocate Brad Osborne to make a fourth application

Judge Bongani Sidwell Mng on Monday delivered judgement granting Goddard bail but with stringent conditions that prohibit him from partaking in any teaching, counselling, or training anyone under the age of 18. He will also not be granted access to enter any area or facility where minors are present.

Judge Mngadi said in his judgement that the State’s affidavit was “written in a cryptic manner” and not clarified by oral evidence.
The judge said he felt the stat failed to prove they had a strong case against the Goddard as no DNA evidence was submitted, linking him to the charges.

Evaluating the merits of the state’s case, Judge Mngadi said the case was not efficiently handled pointing out that Goddard had been in custody since June last year. He said an accused could not be held in custody pending his trial as a form of “anticipatory punishment”.

The judge said there no evidence to suggest that Goddard had attempted to destroy evidence or had tried to interfere with state witnesses.
Mngadi said keeping Goddard in custody so that more witnesses could come forward, as cited by the previous magistrate was unfounded. “The potential complainants, if any, had more than six months to come forward while he was in custody. Such a ground cannot be relied upon to refuse bail,” said Mngadi.

The former school counsellor was granted bail on grounds that the court saw an unlikelihood that he would interfere with the state witnesses (children), as Goddard is no longer an employee at the school and the children are in their parent’s custody. The matter returns to court on July 31.

Bongeka Sibisi

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