South Africa 19.5.2017 12:18 pm

O’Sullivan fails to appear in court, warrant of arrest ‘held over’

Paul O'Sullivan

Paul O'Sullivan

His assistant, however, appeared alone in the dock.

A warrant of arrest was issued on Friday morning against private investigator Paul O’Sullivan for being absent in the Pretoria Magistrates’ Court this morning.

His assistant, attorney Sarah-Jane Trent, appeared alone in the dock. She and O’Sullivan were charged with offences including fraud, intimidation and extortion.

Their lawyer, Louis Taljaard, said O’Sullivan was in London to attend his daughter’s first communion.

“He made the request, and it was indulged. The warrant will not be issued. It will only be issued if he does not appear on the June 9 on his next appearance. The issuing of the warrant is held over, and it is only a procedural thing,” Taljaard said.

Trent said two Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) members have now also been charged, and they would appear in court on May 30. These charges include four counts contravention of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.

Ipid directors, including the organisation’s head, Robert McBride, appeared before parliament’s police portfolio committee on Tuesday, where they briefed MPs on alleged interference by Phahlane and a North West police investigating team in internal probes.

Phahlane is said to be under investigation for possible contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act relating to more than R1 million in “gratuities” he received from a Pretoria car dealer.

McBride earlier assured the police portfolio committee of the body’s independence and made it clear that private investigator Paul O’Sullivan has not been hired or tasked with Phahlane, but that he is the complainant in the matter.

According to Trent, there had been further investigations since her arrest.

“I have not even seen my charge sheet or my arrest warrant,” Trent said.

“To be perfectly honest, I think Phahlane can’t give any answers, he can’t answers to parliament, and he can’t give answers to the public, and he is bringing out all this [charges] to deflect his guilt,” Trent said.

She said they had assisted Ipid, and everything else has been done.

“Paul O’Sullivan is the complainant, and that is it.”

Trent said she still had faith that the NPA would follow through and charge Phahlane and investigate him.

Earlier, O’Sullivan said the weight of evidence that he had against Phahlane would send him to prison. He believed Phahlane was behind his arrest because both he and his assistant were held at the Kameeldrift Police Station, which is less than three kilometres from Phahlane’s mansion.

On Monday, Ipid recommended that Phahlane be suspended in a bid to prevent him from interfering in the organisation’s investigations.

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