Peter Frederiksen at a court appearance earlier this month. Photo: GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/Scanpix
Peter Frederiksen, a 63-year-old gun shop owner, is facing a litany of charges after police discovered more than 10 pieces of frozen female genitalia at his Bloemfontein townhouse in September.
His wife, 28-year-old Anna Matseliso Molise, was set to be the state's key witness but she was gunned down in October outside her house in Maseru, capital of neighbouring Lesotho.
“There is a strong likelihood that he would influence or eliminate witnesses,” said prosecutor Amanda Bester, who earlier alleged that Frederiksen had access to a cell phone in prison.
“The victims of the accused before the court are scarred for life, and there is a likelihood that he would harm members of the public if he was released on bail,” she said.
After hearing arguments from both the state and defence, the judge at the Bloemfontein Magistrate Court postponed the bail decision until November 20.
Frederiksen faces charges that include two counts of conspiracy to commit murder — one in connection with his wife's death — three counts of assault, two of bigamy, and production and distribution of child pornography.
Frederiksen's lawyer disputed the state's claim that his client was a risk to society and would flee the country.
He is a “man who has nothing to hide” said defence lawyer Nthwane Litabe.
“The accused has been crucified by the public and subjected to a media trial,” Nthwane said.
Wearing a white t-shirt, Frederiksen sat alert in the dock as he listened to proceedings.
On Thursday he gave an emotional account of how he was devastated to hear of his wife's death while he was in prison.
Violence against women is widespread in South Africa, which has one of the highest rates of rape in the world, according to the fact-checking website Africa Check.
South Africa has legislation prohibiting female circumcision, although it is not a widespread practise in the country.