Shackles, electric shock belts and fat rolls at Krejcir trial

2016-05-10 19:15
Radovan Krejcir. (Netwerk24)

Radovan Krejcir. (Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - Shackles, electric shock belts and fat rolls formed the central theme of court proceedings as the murder trial of Radovan Krejcir and his quartet of cohorts struggled to get underway.

A series of delays hamstrung the start of the trial of the five, who stand accused of the 2013 murder of Lebanese National Sam Issa.

Krejcir faces nine charges, along with his co-accused, Bulgarian Lybohir Grigorov, Mfaniseni Memela, Nkanyiso Mafunda and Siboniso Miya.

Respective counsels for the accused and the State on Tuesday traded salvos, centred on the heavily armed police and correctional services officials in court, as well as the fact that the five were shackled in leg irons.

Krejcir has also been fitted with a "shock belt", a device that operates like a taser, and can be activated to incapacitate him should he embark on an escape bid.

The heightened security inside and outside the courtroom is a result of a raft of alleged escape plots by the Czech national, who was this year convicted of drug trafficking.

SW van der Merwe, who represents all the accused except Krejcir, argued that the fact that his clients were shackled created an impression of guilt and maligned their standing as innocent until proven guilty.

He presented case law that in the past, judges had recused themselves from hearing trials after seeing the accused in shackles, and raised doubts over whether Judge Winston Msimeki "would be able to proceed" with the matter.

‘Wounds, fat roll'

He said if the shackles remained in place and if Msimeki continued to adjudicate the case, it may have "far reaching consequences".  

Cliff Alexander, appearing on behalf of Krejcir, echoed this, emphasising that his client’s image had been tainted.

It emerged during court proceedings that Krejcir had been outfitted with the shock belt, something Alexander said further impugned his dignity.

Krejcir further claimed that the belt had injured him, and made it impossible to sit in comfort.

At one point he stood and removed his jacket and lifted his shirt to show Msimeki "wounds" caused by wearing the belt.

"You can see marks on what appears to be his fat roll. He still has a bit of fat on him," Alexander remarked.  

State advocate Lawrence Gcaba rebutted that, while the five were entitled to a fair trial and not to have their rights infringed upon, this was an extraordinary case.

He said that the platoons of guards armed to the teeth, the shackles and the threat analysis done by members of the National Intelligence Agency dictated that security be stepped up.

On his recusal from the matter and an order on whether or not the shackles and belt should be removed, Msimeki reserved his judgment until Friday. 

Read more on:    radovan krejcir  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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