Popular lawyer, advocate Barry Roux, has told the Westonaria Magistrate's Court that his clients implicated in the International Pentecost Holiness Church killings are innocent.
Roux said the deceased and his clients belonged to the same faction at the church.
The infamous church has been split into three factions involved in a succession battle for church leadership, following the death of Comforter Glayton Modise.
On 11 July, five people were shot dead outside the church's headquarters in Zuurbekom.
Two of the deceased were set alight inside a vehicle parked outside the church.
In court on Tuesday, Roux said his team had received an affidavit why the State was opposing his clients' bail application. He is representing 23 of the 41 accused.
"My clients say police officers made them lie on the ground and told them that they were part of the assailants. This group of my clients was coming from different areas. They said there was a shooting between security officers and people inside the church.
"What the police did was to round up whoever they got there and let them lie down and found weapons and now those weapons are allocated saying they (accused) were found with weapons. There was a shooting between security and people. I don't know who killed those people. The accused and the deceased belong to the same group," said Roux.
Roux said some were in a car, and subsequently got stopped and arrested.Roux said one of his clients, a lawyer, was called by a security company owner and told that his employees have been arrested.
The lawyer and the owner of the security company were also arrested.
"I don't know what the real knowledge of the investigating officer is. We are forewarning the police. The group is made of different people. One was a security guard who was called and later arrested.
"They have nothing to do with the shooting. People who were killed belonged to the same faction as the accused. Police claim there is a likelihood the accused will evade trial and are flight risk.
"The investigating officer claimed that among the accused are masterminds of the incident. Who are those masterminds? He must show us those people. We are waiting for forensic evidence and [an] identity parade. We have an attorney sitting in custody waiting for his bail application," said Roux.
"The investigating officer said the case has attracted local and international media attention. Must the accused be sacrificed because they are newsworthy?" Roux asked.
The bail application continues.
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