Bail hearing of convicted drug dealer delayed as attorney withdraws

2016-07-04 11:18

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Pietermaritzburg - An application to cancel the bail of convicted Pietermaritzburg drug dealer Leon Govender was delayed on Friday after his attorney withdrew from the case because legal fees were not paid.

Govender originally faced sentencing on June 8 before regional court magistrate Bhekizitha Phoswa for two counts of dealing in small quantities of cocaine.

He was found guilty last year of the offences, to which he and his co-accused, Brenton Frank, pleaded guilty.

However, before sentence could be passed, Govender was involved in a motor vehicle collision with Phoswa’s car, prompting his lawyers to apply for Phoswa to recuse himself from the case.

Phoswa granted the application and ordered that a different magistrate be appointed to take over the sentencing.

In the meantime, however, state advocate Yuri Gangai applied to cancel Govender’s bail, saying the state had information that Govender had deliberately crashed into Phoswa’s car in order to delay his sentence. The case was due to be heard before regional court magistrate Winnie Mshengu on Friday, but had to be postponed until today after Govender’s attorney, Renen Padayachee, withdrew. Padayachee told the court Govender had failed to pay funds due to advocate Brad Osborne, who represented him at the recusal application. Govender is now applying for legal aid.

Gangai said on Friday the state was ready to go on either with Govender’s sentencing, or alternatively the application to revoke his bail.

He told Mshengu he was very concerned that the matter had not been heard yet, even though the state had given notice of its intention to revoke Govender’s bail as far back as June 23.

“It is trite that bail issues are urgent. In this matter the state’s application is based on a very serious threat to the administration of justice,” he said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime  |  court  |  bail

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