Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Access denied to hijacking accused

By Megan Hartogh

Access to the 21-year-old student, who is accused of attempting to hijack an SAA aircraft, has been restricted. This comes after a female journalist apparently visited Tinashe Rioga, posing as an employee from the University of Cape Town’s cafeteria. Rioga’s lawyer, Joshua Greef, made this announcement in the Bellville Magistrate’s court on Monday, when information surrounding Rioga’s bail application was made. Magistrate, David Tomisi, granted that visits to the accused be restricted. Only Rioga’s defence team, the investigating officer, a relative, a medical practitioner and members of the police force will be allowed access to the accused. During the bail application, Greef said that his client had no previous convictions or pending cases. However, prosecutor, Zamani Gcelushe, said that Rioga would have “to convince the court of exceptional circumstances for bail to be granted”. Rioga allegedly tried to re-route an SAA aircraft that was on its way to Johannesburg from Cape Town, to Maputo in Mozambique on June 17th. He also allegedly threatened an airhostess with a hypodermic syringe. Rioga, who is an information technology student at UCT, is charged with contravening aviation regulations by trying to seize an aircraft in flight and with assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. Rioga’s bail application has been postponed until July 5th.

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