Cwele case rides on old law

2010-12-13 00:00

SEVERAL burning issues will come under the spotlight this week when Sheryl Cwele and her Nigerian co-accused, Frank Nabolisa, return to the dock in Pietermaritzburg for the resumption of their trial on drug trafficking charges.

When the case resumes today it is expected that high court Judge Piet Koen will indicate whether he will allow the prosecution to introduce intercepted telephone calls as evidence.

The phone calls are alleged to have passed between Cwele, Nabolisa, alleged south coast drug mule Tessa Beetge and others at the critical time.

The evidence is viewed as crucial to the state’s case, along with the testimony of Beetge herself, which the state has indicated may be taken via a Skype link to the Brazilian prison where Beetge is serving a sentence for possession of cocaine.

State advocate Ian Cooke submitted previously that the tapped cellphone calls will “give a detailed picture of what actually went on”.

He said the calls were legitimately intercepted by the police in terms of a directive issued by a judge under the Interception and Monitoring Act of 1992.

The defence for both Cwele and Nabolisa, however, objected to the telephone records being admitted into evidence.

Cwele’s advocate, Mvuseni Ngubane, submitted during legal argument that it would be unconstitutional for the state to use the contents of intercepted calls between Cwele and Nabolisa and that this would “trample” Cwele’s right to privacy.

Nabolisa’s advocate, Koos van Vuuren SC argued that the tapping of Nabolisa’s cellphones was “illegal” on grounds that the 1992 legislation did not allow cellular conversations to be monitored and intercepted.

He argued that cellphone calls are covered only by the new Interception and Monitoring Act, which only came into effect on June 30, 2008, and that the old Act was limited to “telecommunications” on a landline.

Another issue that remains unresolved is the incomplete testimony of Charmaine Moss who the state alleges was a victim of a conspiracy to deal in drugs involving Cwele and Nabolisa.

Moss fell ill soon after the defence began cross-examining her version, and a doctor’s certificate prevented her from returning to the witness box for the remainder of the court session.

If she does not finish her testimony the state may be forced to withdraw the conspiracy charge against the accused arising from their alleged dealings with Moss.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.