South Africa 28.5.2014 04:51 pm

Krejcir trial: witness recalls talk with kidnapped man

FILE PICTURE: Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir is seen with his co-accused in the dock ahead of his trial at the High Court in Johannesburg, sitting in Palm Ridge on Tuesday, 27 May 2014. Krejcir, Desai Luphondo, warrant officers Samuel Maropeng and George Nthoroane, Jan Lefu Mofokeng, and Siboniso Miya are charged with kidnapping, assault, and attempted murder. They also face charges of dealing in drugs. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

FILE PICTURE: Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir is seen with his co-accused in the dock ahead of his trial at the High Court in Johannesburg, sitting in Palm Ridge on Tuesday, 27 May 2014. Krejcir, Desai Luphondo, warrant officers Samuel Maropeng and George Nthoroane, Jan Lefu Mofokeng, and Siboniso Miya are charged with kidnapping, assault, and attempted murder. They also face charges of dealing in drugs. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

A State witness in the trial of Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir and five others on Wednesday recalled a conversation with a man allegedly kidnapped by the accused.

“I asked him why he was kidnapped,” Paul Mthabela told the High Court in Johannesburg, sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court.

Bheki Lukhele, the kidnapped man, told him his captors had wanted him to reveal the whereabouts of his brother Doctor.

Doctor, who worked for a cargo company at the OR Tambo International Airport, had disappeared with 25kg of tik (methamphetamine), allegedly belonging to Krejcir, and which he had been tasked with transporting to Australia.

“I asked him who burnt him…. He said it was a certain white man,” Mthabela said under cross-examination by Annelene van den Heever, for Krejcir. The man to whom Lukhele was referring was allegedly Krejcir.

“I asked him why Doctor doesn’t come for him because it seemed he was going to get killed for something he had nothing do with,” said Mthabela.

“He said he was also surprised by that…. He said Doctor had said he won’t come for him, it seemed as if he didn’t care if he dies,” Mthabela told the court through an interpreter.

Lukhele testified earlier that he was forcibly taken from his home in Katlehong, on the East Rand, last June.

He was blindfolded, bound, kicked and punched and had boiling water poured over his head, allegedly by Krejcir.

Mthabela testified that the other captors were all “kind” to Lukhele.

Mthabela said one of the accused, Desai Luphondo, bought and smeared ointment on his head.

“By the time we freed him, he was showing signs of recovery. His injuries were healing,” Mthabela said.

Two days before the scheduled conclusion of the trial, Van den Heever clashed with Judge Collin Lamont, who asked her to get to the point of her cross-examination and provide evidence to back up her questions.

Lamont also raised concerns about the way in which Van den Heever was addressing him.

Van den Heever apologised for her aggression.

“That’s the way I speak. That’s the tone of my voice, that’s the way I address the court,” she said, adding that she meant no disrespect.

The trial was delayed for two days this week after Van den Heever fell ill. It is not known how the delay will affect the trial.

Krejcir, Luphondo, warrant officers Samuel Maropeng and George Nthoroane, Jan Lefu Mofokeng, and Siboniso Miya have all pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping, and attempted murder and dealing in drugs.

Sapa

 

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