Hiccups in Cwele case

2010-12-15 00:00

THE drug trafficking trial of Sheryl Cwele and Frank Nabolisa has been postponed until March amid further hiccups, and will then move to Ramsgate.

High court Judge Piet Koen and his assessor were told that mistakes had crept into transcripts of the intercepted cellphone calls that the state is seeking to introduce as evidence, which have to be checked against the recordings before they can be presented to court.

State advocate Ian Cooke and the defence representatives, advocate Mvuseni Ngubane (for Cwele) and Koos van Vuuren SC (for Nabolisa), will attempt to resolve this problem before the trial resumes on March 7.

However, Judge Koen stipulated that if necessary the state will have to subpoena whatever witnesses are required to give evidence in relation to the records of the calls.

He ruled on Monday that the cellphone conversations in question, which were legally monitored by the police, are admissible as evidence in the trial.

Cooke submitted during argument that the calls are important and provide details of what transpired between Cwele, Nabolisa and alleged drug mule Tessa Beetge.

Beetge is in jail in Sao Paulo, Brazil, serving a sentence for possession of 10 kg of cocaine found in her luggage.

Cooke also disclosed yesterday that he has received another medical certificate issued on behalf of state witness Charmaine Moss, indicating that she will be unfit “for work” (or to testify) until January 31.

The medical certificate, dated December 7, indicates that Moss is suffering from “major depression, severe anxiety and panic attacks, and complete burnout”.

Judge Koen said yesterday it is unfortunate the case has to be adjourned again and he is mindful that Nabolisa is in custody.

He told the accused he hopes the case will be finalised in the next session between March 7 and 18, including all issues relating to the transcripts of the phone calls as well as Moss’s testimony.

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