‘Fugitive’ Zulu walks from court

2012-05-12 00:00

SIFISO Zulu did not leave the Pietermaritzburg high court in handcuffs yesterday, despite failing to secure bail and being termed a “fugitive from justice” by Judge Pete Koen.

Zulu’s last-minute bail application, described by the judge as being “late, ill-conceived and not covering the barest essentials” was adjourned sine die (for an undetermined period) for Zulu’s lawyers to file supplementary papers.

Police confirmed last night that they were in possession of a warrant for Zulu’s arrest, but could not say when it would be executed.

Colonel Jay Naicker said police would do so “some time over the weekend”.

Zulu had not contacted the police to hand himself over by late last night.

Meanwhile, Zulu and his lawyer, Lonwabo Dandala, came in for a sound verbal roasting from Judge Koen during yesterday’s proceedings.

The judge said they were treating the high court “like rubbish”.

Judge Koen said Dandala owed the court an apology for his untrue statements to the media that his office had not been given notice of last Friday’s appeal judgment and threats to complain to the KZN judge president.

He also said Dandala had indicated to his registrar yesterday that the state was not opposed to Zulu’s bail being extended, but on inquiry it emerged “nothing was further from the truth”.

The judge demanded to know from Zulu’s advocate, M.M. Chithi, why Zulu hadn’t surrendered to prison yesterday.

Chithi replied that Zulu was under the impression — wrongly — that once he had filed an application for leave to appeal he was automatically entitled to have his bail extended.

He conceded it was possible Zulu “might have been ill advised” by his attorney.

The judge said Zulu was obliged to comply with the notice of surrender served on him and his failure to do so makes him a fugitive from justice. State advocate Sandesh Sankar said Zulu’s application for an extension of bail and stay of the notice to surrender (issued on Wednesday morning) was invalid.

His bail had ended the moment judgment was delivered on his appeal, and the notice to surrender expired yesterday morning.

A warrant for his arrest was then authorised.

Zulu showed no emotion in the public gallery.

Asked in the foyer after the hearing if he was going to surrender himself, he shrugged and told Weekend Witness to ask his lawyer.

Dandala’s response was: “No comment”.

A short while later Zulu gave a brief interview to SABC television before driving away in a white Range Rover with no number plates. He was accompanied by Dandala and two unknown men.

Zulu told the SABC he was remorseful and reiterated that he had offered to pay the families of the accident victims compensation.

On camera he said he would co-operate with the authorities but did not directly state that he would hand himself over.

Contacted last night and asked if Zulu had handed himself over, Dandala again would not comment, only saying: “I don’t want to fight with the judge any more”.

• ingrido@witness.co.za

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