Delays in Krejcir case

FILE PICTURE: A heavily armed police officer. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

FILE PICTURE: A heavily armed police officer. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

Proceedings in the trial of Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir and five others came to a halt in the High Court in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Annelene van den Heever, for Krejcir and Desai Luphondo, spent time requesting Judge Colin Lamont to compel the State to provide statements of all the witnesses it intended to call for the trial-within-a-trial currently underway.

“In the absence of these statements, I need to test the evidence the State has in its possession,” said Van den Heever.

She also requested cellphone records, office diaries, and vehicle tracking records of all the police officers who were involved in the arrest of Luphondo on November 22, 2013.

The trial-within-a-trial came about following allegations made by Luphondo that policemen who arrested him assaulted and influenced him into make a confession.

Van den Heever objected to Luphondo’s confession being entered in as evidence last week.

Proceedings hit a snag on Wednesday when Van den Heever told Lamont she also wanted cellphone records of Colonel Nkosana Ximba, an officer whose name has often been mentioned during the trial.

This was not the first time she has called for the records of Ximba and other police officials. At the time, a lawyer for the police officials indicated they wanted to challenge the matter.

On Wednesday, however, Lamont insisted that Van den Heever motivate how this would prove the alleged assault of her client.

“The cellphone records will prove his [Simba’s] presence at the scene,” Van den Heever said.

After a lengthy debate around the matter, Lamont said Ximba’s presence at the scene was not an indication of an assault.

He adjourned proceedings and summoned the lawyers to his chambers.

“We need to speak about how long this trial is going to take,” he said.

Proceedings were expected to continue later in the day after the meeting and when prosecutor Louis Mashiane returns from attending to another matter.

Krejcir, Luphondo, Warrant Officers Samuel “Saddam” Maropeng and George Nthoroane, Jan Lefu Mofokeng, and Siboniso Miya faced charges of kidnapping, attempted murder, and dealing in drugs.

They allegedly recruited a man known as Doctor Nkosi to help smuggle 25kg of tik (methamphetamine) to Australia.

He worked for a cargo company at OR Tambo International Airport, and allegedly disappeared with the shipment.

Krejcir and his co-accused allegedly kidnapped and tortured his brother Bheki Lukhele in a bid to have him reveal his sibling’s whereabouts.

Nkosi has also testified in the trial where he confessed to stealing the drugs.



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