'Trust fund' Guatemalan will have no problem forfeiting bail - State

2016-05-23 19:47
Guatemalan Diego Dougherty received a lot of money from his family and trust fund. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Guatemalan Diego Dougherty received a lot of money from his family and trust fund. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town – As a well-off trust fund child, Diego Dougherty would have no problem forfeiting his bail and fleeing the country to avoid standing trial for murder, the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court heard on Monday.

According to a social worker’s affidavit, he received $10 000 (around R157 000) a month from his family and trust fund, State prosecutor Louise Friester-Sampson said during his bail application.

It therefore meant little, she argued, that he had offered the court guarantees in the form of a fixed address and a heavy bail amount if released.

“He entered into a six-month lease which equates to R99 000 and offered R100 000 as a guarantee. With respect, the accused could easily afford to forfeit that amount of bail,” she said.

Magistrate Grant Engel reminded her that the defence stated the bail amount could easily be increased.

The court heard South Africa did not have an extradition agreement with Guatemala. He had dual Guatemalan and Italian nationality and his prominent family lived in Guatemala.

He faces a minimum of 15 years in jail if convicted of killing his American girlfriend Gabriela Kabrins Alban in Camps Bay.

“The likelihood that we would get the accused back into South Africa to stand trial is highly unlikely,” Friester-Sampson said.

Found dead in hotel

Kabrins Alban was found dead in the couple’s room at the upmarket Camps Bay Retreat Hotel on July 29 last year.

She died due to strangulation and had blunt force trauma to the face.

Defence lawyer William Booth argued that his client had always played open cards with authorities and had nothing to hide.

It was not a crime that he was a frequent traveller or had two passports, which police confiscated after his arrest.

“He didn’t come here to commit murder or some or other criminal activity,” Booth boomed.

There was nothing in the accused’s makeup or any facts to suggest he would not stand trial, he added.

‘Ludicrous’ bail proposal

The proposed bail conditions of this were an “absolute guarantee” to the court. These included hefty bail, reporting daily to a police station, remaining under house arrest, possible electronic monitoring by correctional services, and being placed under supervision by a security company.

Friester-Sampson countered that it would be “ludicrous” to think this would stop him from finding a way to exit the country.

She claimed Dougherty had previously shown a wilful disregard for authority.

It was likely that the case would be transferred to the Western Cape High Court in October.

Engel would pass judgment on bail on Tuesday.

Read more on:    diego dougherty  |  cape town  |  crime

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