No bed at psych hospital for accused

2013-09-12 20:42

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Cape Town - A vacant bed is not yet available for psychiatric observation of fraud accused paralegal practitioner Chris Lodewyk, the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court heard on Thursday.

Lodewyk, 46, of Goodwood, in Cape Town, faces two counts of illegally practising as an attorney, one of practising as an attorney without the required Fidelity Fund Certificate, two of fraud and three of theft.

On Thursday, he appeared before magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg, who warned him to appear again on 15 October.

At a hearing in July, prosecutor Xolile Jonas told the court Lodewyk was number 180 on the waiting list at the Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital.

He has been ordered to submit himself to the hospital for 30 days' observation.

On Thursday, prosecutor R Valley-Omar told the court the situation at Valkenberg Hospital was "much the same".

Lodewyk was referred for psychiatric assessment after psychiatrist Wayne Sanders told the court he suffered from severe depression.

Sanders said Lodewyk had not suffered from depression at the time he allegedly committed the offences, and that the depression was the result of an abusive and manipulative relationship in which he was caught.

False advertising

According to the charge sheet, Lodewyk practised as a paralegal in the name of Legal Max, and advertised himself on Gumtree, on the internet.

One of the allegations against him is of receiving money from two clients - Richard Watkins (R50 280 between 2008 and 2011) and Werner Schreuder (R79 600, between 2010 and 2012) - for legal work he did not do.

Watkins had a dispute with a motor dealership. It is alleged that Lodewyk falsely informed him that the matter had gone to court and that the court had ruled in his favour, with costs.

It is alleged that Schreuder engaged Lodewyk to defend him in high court litigation, which Lodewyk failed to do.

As a result, a civil judgment was granted against Schreuder, but the first that he knew about it - and of Lodewyk’s alleged failure to act for him - was a visit from the sheriff to attach his vehicle.

He is also alleged to have obtained R216 000 for investment from the couple Richard and Elizabeth Dickenson in 2008, after falsely informing them that he was a registered investment broker.

Lodewyk was to invest the money with First Stage Holdings, at between 16% and 18% interest a year, but allegedly kept the money for himself.

The three theft charges are based on the two fraud charges, involving the Watkins, Schreuder and the Dickenson couple.

The remaining three charges involve alleged violations of the Attorneys Act.

Lodewyk is out on R25 000 bail.

Read more on:    cape town  |  fraud

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