Drugs accused in bail bid

2008-02-28 00:00

Pietermaritzburg’s alleged “drug queen” Ramjini Chetty has said in an affidavit filed in support of her bail application in the magistrate’s court here yesterday that she intends to plead not guilty to drug dealing charges she currently faces.

Chetty was on bail in connection with 2005 drug trafficking and racketeering charges when she was arrested last year on fresh charges.

She is appearing in court alongside her son, Bradwyn Sewdutt (21), who was earlier released on bail. His bail conditions were yesterday relaxed slightly, enabling him to travel out of Pietermaritzburg for business purposes after notifying the investigating officer.

The two are facing 14 charges of dealing in cocaine, possession of cocaine and conspiracy to deal in cocaine.

The charges followed a raid on Chetty’s residence in Queen Street, which police claim to be the base for a drug syndicate, controlled by Chetty.

In an affidavit filed in support of her bail application yesterday, Chetty said while on bail in connection with her earlier charges she has always attended court and abided by her conditions of bail.

She submitted that she poses no threat to the safety of the public, and that there is no likelihood she would evade her trial.

She submits that she is self-employed and can’t run her business outside South Africa.

She also states that she has a child, who suffers from ill-health, and says his condition would prevent her from fleeing the country.

She says the Directorate of Special Operations (Scorpions) have her travel documents. In addition, she would rely on friends and family to pay her bail and could not run the risk of forfeiting the money.

Chetty maintains further that she would not be able to tamper with evidence or intimidate witnesses as she does not know their identities.

Chetty alleges that her continued incarceration would be prejudicial in that she would not be able to “provide love, care and attention” to her children, and cannot consult adequately with her legal team. She maintains her imprisonment has compromised her ability to pay for counsel and mount a proper defence to the charges she faces.

“My continued incarceration constitutes punishment in the light of my constitutional right to be presumed innocent until I am proven guilty.”

In an affidavit filed opposing the granting of bail to Chetty, senior special investigator with the Scorpions, Amod Hoosen, said reliable information had indicated that the syndicate, allegedly headed by Chetty, had continued with drug dealing activities soon after she was released on bail in the earlier case, and that her drug selling had escalated.

The bail hearing will continue on March 7 when Chetty’s advocate, Brad Osborne, will cross-examine Hoosen.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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