Krejcir trial: Guards confiscate journalist's pen

2015-10-28 14:41
Radovan Krejcir (Netwerk24)

Radovan Krejcir (Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - Security was so tight at Radovan Krejcir's sentencing proceedings in court on Wednesday that guards even confiscated a journalist's pen.

With the police saying earlier this week that they knew Krejcir was plotting to escape, security measures at the High Court in Johannesburg were very tight, with every person undergoing an intensive search before being allowed into the courtroom.

One journalist's Parker pen didn't survive the search, while food and water bottles also had to be left at the entrance of the sixth floor passage.

The officers were wary of persons carrying any sharp objects, and confiscated the pen.

Each person who had been searched was then given a wrist band.

And after all that, the sentencing proceedings of Krejcir and five others - convicted of attempted murder, kidnapping and dealing in drugs - were postponed again, this time to November 17, when it would sit for three days.

Defence accused of delaying tactics

Lawyers of the accused requested the postponement, claiming that documents from the social worker needed for mitigation of sentence were not yet ready.

Louis Mashiane for the State accused the defence of using delaying tactics.

Piet du Plessis who is the instructing attorney for Krejcir, told the court that Krejcir had decided to terminate the services of his attorney, Annelene van den Heever.

"He wants to appoint a new counsel," du Plessis said.

He did not say why Krejcir wanted a new lawyer.

Court packed with cops

Judge Colin Lamont said the delays in the case were causing prejudice to all involved, including the policemen who had to be present for all the proceedings.

The scores of officers made up most of the court audience. Carrying rifles and dressed in their protective gear, they lined the court walls.

More police officers dressed in black suits sat in the front row of the court gallery, while other police officers were positioned outside the courtroom.

Before being allowed into the courtroom, security officers combed through everybody's bags and demanded identification. Each person had to write down their particulars.

After passing through a metal detector, each person was subjected to a thorough body search.

Meanwhile in court, police officers barred the media from using their cellphones, laptops and recording devices. Only the SABC had been issued rights to record and other media personnel had to use pen and paper to document the proceedings.

The high security measures come after police foiled what they say was an attempt by Krejcir to escape custody. Police seized several items from his cell during a raid, including a gun.

Last week, a woman, claiming to be an estate agent visiting Krejcir in jail, was arrested after a cellphone rang in a pair of shoes she had brought for him.

NPA wants to seize co-accused's assets

On Wednesday, however, the National Director of Public Works threw another spanner in the works when it announced that it was going after the assets of one of Krejcir's co-accused, Desai Luphondo.

Prashika Jagnath brought an application to have Luphondo's assets seized on the premise that he gained these from his illegal drug dealings.

Luphondo's lawyer did not object to the application. Both he and the NDPP would file affidavits before the matter was to be heard.

Jagnath, however, said they were concerned that as Luphondo and the others were still awaiting sentencing, they were being treated as awaiting trial prisoners.

This meant he had contact with the outside world and could ensure his assets were sold off before they would be seized.

Lamont, however, stressed that he had no powers over this, as the department of correctional services only classified prisoners as sentenced or awaiting trial.

Krejcir and the four other co-accused were found guilty of attempted murder, kidnapping and attempting to deal in drugs, while Luphondo was also convicted of drug dealing.

The six men were convicted in August. Numerous issues, largely because of Krejcir's legal team, have resulted in postponements in the six being sentenced.

Lamont said this was the last postponement he was would grant.

He warned Krejcir to have his legal affairs in order and for the other accused's lawyers to ensure the documents from the social workers were ready.

"They are convicts... They need to be sentenced sooner than later," Lamont said.

Read more on:    radovan krejcir  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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