Murder accused Louka may take secrets of Jackson murder to the grave

2015-04-08 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — George Louka, who faces a murder charge for Teazers boss Lolly Jackson’s killing, is in hospital and being looked after by the state, the Hawks said yesterday.

“So far we have been informed he is not in good condition and the state is looking after him,” spokesperson ­Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said.

“The investigation team have been dealing with this matter since he was diagnosed with cancer and making sure he gets treatment where he is.”

He could not say when Louka was admitted to hospital or whether he is in Johannesburg or Pretoria.

“Since last month we’ve been receiving updates on his condition and we were also interacting with his lawyers.”

According to reports, Louka’s lawyer wants to approach the courts to have his client moved from a prison hospital to a state or private hospital.

His lawyer, Owen Bloomberg, told Eyewitness News that Louka had great difficulty breathing on Monday.

“There was an attempt to take him to a government hospital but he was refused admission so he was taken back to the current hospital where they are unable to treat him properly,” Bloomberg was quoted as saying.

Bloomberg reportedly said that if his client was not moved from the prison hospital before the end yesterday he would consider going to the high court.

On Sunday, it was reported that Louka made claims in five affidavits, that Czech businessman Radovan Krejcir shot Jackson during a fight over R740 000.

He reportedly claimed Krejcir kicked Jackson after firing the first shot and screamed: “You want to know who I am, I will show you who I am, you f*cking cockroach.”

He said Jackson begged for his life but Krejcir pumped several more shots into his body.

Louka was extradited to South Africa from Cyprus to stand trial for Jackson’s murder.

He appeared in court in February last year on charges of murder and possession of stolen property.

The case was postponed this year after it was revealed that he was dying of lung cancer and was being treated in a secret prison hospital.

Meanwhile, a legal expert said the state could have a hard time securing a conviction if Louka dies in the near future.

“In cases like this where you have a person who dies before they able to give testimony it creates the problem in that evidence that they would give becomes hearsay,” James Grant, who is doing his pupilage at the Johannesburg Bar, said speaking in the abstract yesterday.

“The difficulty with hearsay … [is that] the persuasive value of that evidence would depend on the person producing this in court. It depends on the credibility of somebody else.”

Another law expert from the University of Cape Town, Kelly Phelps, said an affidavit was a sworn statement and would maintain its stature if the person died but it could impact the trial.

“Evidence needs to be evaluated in a trial according to reliability,” she said.

“One way of testing the reliability is to examine and cross-examine a witness. Now if he passes away there’s not going to be an opportunity to do that.”

This did not mean that the evidence could not be used. There were examples of people who did not testify in court but gave statements, she said.

During the bail application for Paralympian Oscar Pistorius, seven affidavits were filed but the people were not called to testify, however, the affidavits did form part of the court’s evidence that the judge used to make a decision.

“[However], the more central the witness is the more critical it is that they testify.”

The court would have to decide how much weight the evidence holds, Phelps said.

Grant said a dying declaration could be made.

“If somebody was on their death bed and said it was James who poisoned me … that then would be exceptionally admitted,” he said, using an example.

“There are specific rules around the dying declaration. The person has to be at death’s door with no prospect of recovery. The thinking is courts allow this type of exception because no one facing death would lie, which is nonsense,” Grant said.

These sorts of exceptions existed throughout the world and used to exist in South Africa until the law changed from common law to a statutory position in 1988.

The Law of Evidence Act of 1988, section three provided that hearsay evidence was inadmissible, however, it could be admitted in the interest of justice.

“The position in our law currently is that if Louka died, a statement that he had made may be admitted as evidence under the exception, if a court is convinced that it is in the interest of justice,” Grant said.

Grant said the court could consider that he might only have a month to live so there would be no reason for him to lie.

However, the court would be looking at whether it is in the interest of justice to admit any statements he makes as evidence.

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