Case against Cwele not proved - lawyer

2012-08-16 20:24
Drug dealing convict Sheryl Cwele (File, Beeld)

Drug dealing convict Sheryl Cwele (File, Beeld)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Bloemfontein - The State never proved its case against Sheryl Cwele, as was indicated in the trial court, the Supreme Court of Appeal heard on Thursday.

There was no indication in the evidence of "any suggestion that what was to be brought back was cocaine", Cwele’s legal counsel Kemp J Kemp submitted.

The SCA was hearing argument in an appeal by Cwele, former wife of State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele, and Nigerian Frank Nabolisa, against their drug trafficking convictions and sentences.

Cwele was found guilty and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. She was appealing only against her conviction.

Nabolisa was appealing both his conviction and sentence of 12 years imprisonment.

Both pleaded not guilty to conspiring to deal in cocaine, in procuring a woman, Charmaine Moss, to collect drugs in Turkey, and to procuring another woman, Tessa Beetge, to smuggle cocaine from South America.

Beetge was caught in Brazil with about 10kg of cocaine in her luggage, and was serving an eight-year sentence in that country.

Kemp submitted that the evidence against Cwele showed that the two women had only had to do "something" for Nabolisa.

"The one thing not proved was her knowledge of what was to be brought back," he argued, adding that Cwele had no idea that Beetge was sent to South America.

Kemp argued that "one looks in vain" in the court records for proof that Cwele knew about the drugs.

"It was not shown she knew of the content [of the packages]," he said.

Kemp said no inference could be made on the facts of the case about the cocaine, as stipulated in the charges.

Legal counsel for Nabolisa, Koos van Vuuren, also submitted that proper analysis of the circumstantial evidence would lead to a conclusion he had not committed the offences as charged.

He submitted the State failed to prove the authenticity and reliability of cellphone records.

State prosecutor Ian Cooke admitted that drug dealers would never openly talk about drug shipments on phones, and that the courts must rely on "evidence" which was only based on inferences.

He also admitted the State’s case relied heavily on the fact that Beetge was caught with cocaine in Sao Paulo.

Cooke submitted that the number of coincidences in disputed recordings and other evidence was "staggering". Cooke asked the SCA to intervene and impose a heavier sentence on Cwele.

Kemp argued in reply that the trial court had already taken all aspects into consideration in sentencing, and that there was no need for the SCA to interfere.

Beetge’s mother Marie Swanepoel and her husband attended the appeal hearing.

"I am here in support of my daughter and want to know what happened," she said.

Judgment was reserved.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    siyabonga cwele  |  sheryl cwele  |  kemp j kemp  |  bloemfontein
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

De Allende's star burns bright
Boks were 'in a dark space'
Pacific island teams singled out for rough tactics?
Ireland favourites but France bullish
Traffic Alerts

Passion is the name of the game. Love is not an intellectual study, but an experience from heart level. You have the tendency more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.