Selebi trial looks set for further delays

2010-01-06 14:35

The battle to have an intelligence witness testify in former police

commissioner Jackie Selebi’s corruption case is headed for the Supreme Court of

Appeal (SCA).

Earlier this week the State Security Agency lodged a petition at

the SCA to prevent former national intelligence co-ordinator Barry Gilder from

testifying, National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said today.

“We are studying the papers that were filed with the SCA and we

will respond accordingly.”

The state security ministry wants to challenge Judge Meyer Joffe’s

decision to compel Gilder to testify at Selebi’s trial in the High Court in

Johannesburg.

The ministry had argued that Gilder’s testimony – apparently about

a 2005 draft intelligence report which contained one paragraph about allegedly

untoward payments Selebi was receiving from slain mining magnate Brett Kebble –

could compromise national security.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel had insisted the testimony the state wanted

from Gilder was already in the public domain.

Mhaga said the petition was not filed on an urgent basis. The SCA’s

roll was apparently full for the next few months.

“It will affect the running of the trial. It’s unfortunate... We

had hoped matters would proceed to finality.”

The corruption case resumes in the High Court in Johannesburg on

February 1.

However, Mhaga said it was “likely” a postponement would need to be

made at that date until the appeal matter was completed. Mhaga said simply

dropping the witness from the state’s case was not an option.

“We need that evidence. It’s very important evidence.”

Selebi is facing a count of corruption and another of defeating the

ends of justice in connection with at least R1.2 million he allegedly received

from convicted drug trafficker Glenn Agliotti, Kebble and ex-Hyundai boss Billy

Rautenbach in return for favours.

 He has pleaded not guilty to all

charges.

The investigation into Selebi started in 2006 and the former

national police commissioner first presented himself to court in 2008.

His trial ran for nearly two months last year, before being

postponed on December 1, in light of the legal tussle to make Gilder testify.


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