NPA to petition on Brown sentence

2013-06-03 20:30
J Arthur Brown (Picture: Sapa)

J Arthur Brown (Picture: Sapa)

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Cape Town - The State will approach the Supreme Court of Appeal to ask for a heavier sentence against former Fidentia boss J Arthur Brown, the National Prosecuting Authority said on Monday.

NPA Western Cape spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila confirmed the provincial director of public prosecutions, Rodney de Kock, would petition the SCA.

The Western Cape High Court on Monday morning denied the State's application for leave to appeal Brown's sentence.

Judge Anton Veldhuizen listened to the State's arguments, confirmed the defence was opposing the legal action, and then turned down the application.

Brown paid a R150 000 fine last month, 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.

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.

His trial started in November 2012, and five State witnesses presented evidence.

He handed up four admissions documents and then decided to change his plea to guilty on the two main counts.

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".

He said the court erred in its finding that fraud without actual monetary loss did not fall within the minimum sentence provisions.

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

Van Vuuren argued that the court had erred by basing the sentence on the narrow description of offences in Brown's admissions document, while "completely ignoring" the evidence already on record.

He said the court disregarded the evidence given by State witnesses about the fraud counts and sentence without giving any reason. It had erred in limiting the State's effort to cross-examine Brown during his testimony in mitigation of sentence, he said.

Van Vuuren said 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.

- SAPA
Read more on:    matco  |  fidentia  |  j arthur brown  |  cape town
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