The Supreme Court has reserved judgment in a case in which the state is appealing the granting of bail to one of the Fishrot accused, Ricardo Gustavo.

High Court Judge Herman Oosthuizen granted Gustavo N$800,000 bail.

The Prosecutor General argues that the High Court narrowly interpreted the notions of public interest and justice when it granted bail to Gustavo.

Albeit with stringent conditions attached, the provisional release from custody of Gustavo, one of the accused in the multimillion-dollar fishing scandal involving the Icelandic company Samerji, by the High Court did not sit well with the Prosecutor General, who has decided to appeal against the decision.

Judge Oosthuizen initially refused to grant the prosecutor leave to appeal, but the PG petitioned the Supreme Court.

ED Marondodze, representing the state, has questioned the grounds on which Judge Herman Oosthuizen granted the N$800,000 bail to Gustavo.

The state is adamant that the high court narrowly interpreted the notions of "public interest" and "interest of justice."

The court, Marondodze says, did not consider that Gustavo was part of a syndicate believed to have benefited from illegal proceedings, for which his co-accused remain in jail.

He added that Gustavo did not prove that he has a strong defense against the state, nor was he candid and open with the court.

Marondedze said Oosthuizen failed to consider and make an appropriate ruling on whether or not the grounds that were tendered by Gustavo constituted new facts that warranted him to consider Gustavo's bail status.

The state is further of the view that, should Oosthuizen have considered the facts, he would have realized that the alleged new facts did not change the basis on which bail was previously denied in the Magistrate's Court and subsequently by the High Court.

The response is however content that the High Court decision was appropriate and in line with sections 61 and 66 of the Criminal Procedures Act, which vests discretion on the presiding court, to decide on the liberty of an accused person.

It is not known when the court will pronounce its verdict on the matter.

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Daniel Nadunya