State to introduce new evidence against Krejcir's co-accused

2016-11-09 19:16
Radovan Krejcir (Mary-Ann Palmer, Netwerk24)

Radovan Krejcir (Mary-Ann Palmer, Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - The State has come across "crucial" new evidence against two of Radovan Krejcir's co-accused who allegedly conspired to help him escape from Zonderwater prison in Cullinan, near Pretoria.

This comes after the two, David Sibeko and Marcello Harrison, and Vanessa Naidoo were linked to Krejcir's multiple escape attempts.

Prosecutor Lawrence Gcaba told the court he would only disclose the docket once the new information had been verified.

On Wednesday the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court heard that Naidoo, Sibeko and Harrison were arrested two weeks ago and were charged with conspiracy to commit an offence, corruption, defeating the ends of justice, dealing in drugs as well as contraventions of the Firearms Act.

Lawyers for all three made a request to the court that the State disclose the docket so that they could better prepare for their clients' formal bail applications.

However, prosecutor Lawrence Gcaba told the court he could not disclose the docket yet as investigations were still underway.

Tight security

Convicted drug dealer Krejcir, his two former lovers Naidoo and Marissa Christopher, three correctional services officials and two men linked to his escape attempts all appeared in court side by side on Wednesday.

The gallery was packed with members of the public and some of the accused's family members while members of the Ekurhuleni metro police, correctional services department and the SAPS special task force wearing bulletproof vests and helmets stood along the walls armed with rifles and handguns.

Krejcir had a chain and a stun belt around his waist.

Previously, only five people had been linked to the offences. During the proceedings, the court heard that Gcaba had promised the defence teams he would provide them with the docket by October 28 and set a trial date.

However, Gcaba told the court he would only be able to disclose the contents of the docket to the legal teams after the new information he had received had been verified.

"On the last occasion, the State did indicate that investigations were complete and therefore on today's date we would be coming to court to set a trial date. However, a good deal of incidents occurred [and] investigations which turned the matter upside down.

Investigator to verify information

"At this stage, it is not yet appropriate for disclosure of the docket... The arrests show the length and depth of the investigations at this stage," Gcaba said.

The matter was adjourned to December 5 and the three new accused were transferred to a separate court to launch a formal bail application. The matter was postponed to November 10 after Gcaba told the court that the State had "crucial" information which he had received late on Tuesday, which would sway the State's decision on whether or not to oppose the bail application.

Gcaba asked the court to give him 24 hours to allow the investigator in the matter to verify the information.

It was not immediately clear what the exact crimes Naidoo, Sibeko and Harrison stood accused of were.

It was believed that Christopher was arrested in July while visiting Krejcir at Zonderwater.

She had allegedly tried to bribe prison officials and smuggled cellphones into his cell between November 2013 and April 2016.

Among her co-accused were three prison officials, including Solly Metlae, with whom she allegedly conspired.

Metlae was guarding Krejcir at the prison when he allegedly tried to help him escape.

Krejcir moved to KZN prison

That was not Krejcir's first alleged attempt at escaping from custody. In September last year, the correctional services department foiled an escape by prisoners, including Krejcir, from Zonderwater, after raiding a number of cells.

The items found in Krejcir's cell included a pistol, ammunition, a knife, what looked like a Taser electroshock weapon, a pepper-spray gun, screwdriver, steel blades, 10 cellphones, a memory stick and a diary which contained the names of witnesses and investigators in his cases.

In November Krejcir's mother allegedly deposited R600 000 into the account of a woman to help fund his escape, News24 reported. The woman allegedly made a number of withdrawals at different ATMs before the State froze the account.

Another woman was arrested and charged in Cullinan for attempting to smuggle a cellphone into Zonderwater for Krejcir. She was released on bail of R3 000.

Krejcir was then moved to the maximum security C-Max prison in Kokstad, KwaZulu-Natal.

Krejcir is a Czech fugitive criminal who has been behind bars in South Africa since 2013. In August last year, the High Court in Johannesburg found him guilty of kidnapping, attempted drug dealing, and attempted murder.

He was sentenced to an effective 35 years in jail in February this year.

Shortly after, in the same court he had appeared in earlier on Wednesday, Krejcir's extradition matter was also postponed to December 5. 

Read more on:    radovan krejcir  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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