Calitz out after drug party raid

2012-12-11 00:00

DEBBIE Calitz, who was held hostage by Somali pirates for almost two years, appeared in court in Pretoria yesterday on a charge of possessing illegal drugs.

Calitz (50) and her daughter, Kerri-Ann Cross (21) and son Jason Cross (23) were among the nine accused who appeared in the court.

Calitz, who was freed six months ago after being held hostage with boyfriend Bruno Pelizzari, was released with her co-accused on bail of R1 000 each after they had spent the weekend in the Garsfontein police station.

Latham Dixon, lawyer for Calitz and Cross, said Calitz had been visiting her daughter on Friday night when the police raided Kerri-Ann’s home in Constantia Park, in the east of Pretoria.

Prosecutor Lebogang Mokalake said the police had acted on a tip-off that a drug party was being held at the house.

Mokalake said police confiscated a dagga plant, bags of dagga and a bag of so-called magic mushrooms.

The other accused are Matthew Beukes (25), Jarryd Lottering (21), Timothy Lombard (29), Nicolas Fourie (20), and Zane (19) and Donavan Coles (20).

Dixon and Peter Jay, representing the other accused except Lombard, said there are no previous convictions or pending cases against their clients.

The state granted bail and the case has been postponed to January 30 to give police a chance to investigate the matter.

Calitz, who has previously been willing to speak to the media, only had a “no comment” for the journalists outside the court yesterday.

Vera Hetch, Pelizzari’s sister who handled negotiations with their captors, said they were surprised at the news of Calitz’s arrest.

“I don’t even know what to say. She’s an adult, I guess, and she’s free to do whatever she likes. She was free until she was arrested, at least,” Hetch told The Witness.

“I haven’t heard from her since September. I’m more in touch with my brother. During negotiations, we were negotiating for their release as a couple. We weren’t going to fight for one and leave the other,” she said.

“My brother’s shocked and surprised. It’s hard for us to say anything because they’re so far away. I didn’t even know she had the … children mentioned until they were taken captive. I know little of her family,” said Hetch.

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