News24

CAT suspects can't afford bail

2006-08-01 20:44

Cape Town - Bail for two men accused of making the drug, CAT, was reduced from R100 000 to R75 000 each by Cape Town magistrate's court on Tuesday - but the pair were still unable to raise the money.

Jacobus Johannes Venter, 42, and Jacques van Rensburg, 37, are accused of manufacturing and selling the drug from a luxury apartment in Sea Point.

Defence attorney Ben Matthewson told magistrate Aziz Hamied the men's circumstances had changed overnight, and their families had been able to raise only R60 000 for each.

Matthewson told the court that on Monday "we all thought R200,000 was available for the bail, but things have suddenly changed.

Bank accounts, cars

"We had hoped to liquidate some of my client's assets to raise the money, but the asset forfeiture unit (AFU) has frozen all their bank accounts.

It also is to launch a second application in the High Court for an additional preservation order to include funds in their bank accounts and their cars."

Venter and Van Rensburg were granted R100 000 bail each on Monday.

They were remanded to the safer police cells at Sea Point, rather than back at Pollsmoor Prison, where, according to Matthewson, conditions for awaiting trial prisoners were appalling.

On Tuesday, however, they realised the money they had planned to use for bail was no longer available to them.

Matthewson reminded the court that to set bail at a sum his clients could not afford was the same as refusing bail.

He said the AFU already had confiscated R900 000 belonging to the men, as well as their luxury car, "which is more than enough".

Prosecutor Carmen Daniels countered that the court had purposely set bail at R100 000 each, based on facts placed before the court.

Back to Pollsmoor Prison

She said sums totalling R1.5m had gone through Venter and Van Rensburg's joint bank account in a matter of eight months.

Because Venter and Van Rensburg were again unable to pay the reduced bail immediately, they were remanded to Wednesday, at Matthewson's request.

This time, however, they had to return to Pollsmoor Prison as there was no place for them at Sea Point cells.

On Wednesday, they hope to pay the bail at court, and the case would then be postponed to a date to be fixed.