NPA petitions on Brown sentence

2013-06-21 20:06
J Arthur Brown (Picture: Sapa)

J Arthur Brown (Picture: Sapa)

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Cape Town - The State has petitioned the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) to ask for a heavier sentence for former Fidentia boss J Arthur Brown, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said on Friday.

Western Cape director of public prosecutions Rodney de Kock sent through the petition at the end of last week, said NPA Western Cape spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila.

"We are now waiting for the SCA [Judge Lex Mpati] to contact us to inform on the way forward on this matter."

At the start of the month, the Western Cape High Court denied the State's application for leave to appeal Brown's sentence.

The NPA's petition was for leave to appeal the sentence and against the trial judge’s dismissal of the application for leave to appeal.

Brown paid a R150 000 fine in May, which was his sentence handed down by the high court for two fraud convictions.

Had he not paid the fine, he would have been imprisoned for 36 months.

He was also sentenced to 18 months in jail on each count, suspended for four years, on condition he not be convicted of fraud again.

In April, he was convicted after admitting to misrepresentations he made regarding investments entrusted to him by Mantadia Asset Trust Company (Matco) and the Transport Education and Training Authority (Teta).

Matco, subsequently renamed the Living Hands Umbrella Trust, was responsible for paying money from the mineworkers' provident fund to the widows and orphans of workers killed in mine accidents.

‘Lenient’ sentence

Jannie van Vuuren, for the State, argued during the leave to appeal application that the court misdirected itself and that he was sure another court would impose a jail sentence.

He described Brown's sentence as "startlingly and inappropriately lenient".

It was the State's case that the trial court erred in finding that the minimum sentence for fraud did not apply in Brown's case because no actual monetary loss was proven.

Had it fallen within these provisions, Brown would have faced a possible 15 years in jail.

"The evidence proved that the actual losses were R185m [for the first count] and at least R56m [for the second count] respectively... failure to apply them was a material misdirection," the petition document stated.

The State believed the court erred by basing the sentence on the narrow description of offences in Brown's admissions document, while "completely ignoring" the evidence already on record.

It said the court disregarded the evidence given by its witnesses about the fraud counts and sentenced without giving any reason.

It had erred in limiting the State's effort to cross-examine Brown during his testimony in mitigation of sentence.

Van Vuuren said in his leave to appeal application that the court had no good reason to find that the State had mismanaged the case.

"The case was not mismanaged. Inasmuch as the court found to the contrary, the court's conclusion is coloured by the misdirections that reasonably fall to be corrected by another court," he said.

Read more on:    matco  |  npa  |  fidentia  |  j arthur brown  |  cape town  |  corruption

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