Jail not able to find thief for hearing

2008-07-06 00:00

A convicted car thief who was due to appeal his conviction and effective six-year jail sentence in the high court in Pietermaritzburg could not be found in the prison in Vryheid where he is allegedly being held, and no one seems to know his whereabouts, the appeal judges were told on Friday.

Advocate Seema Takchund, who appeared for the state, told acting judges Colin Pammenter and Logeshwaran Pillay that the accused’s presence was required on June 10, but prison authorities at Ncome did not tell anyone they were unable to trace him until the registrar inquired on Friday.

Acting Judge Pammenter said not only were the court and state advocate inconvenienced, but the appellant, Hezekia Xulu, was also denied the Constitutional right to argue his appeal.

The court ordered that a copy of the judgment be sent to the director-general of Correctional Services.

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