UK man a 'fugitive of justice' in Cape Town – state advocate

2016-04-07 18:58
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Cape Town – A court is set to rule next week on objections raised in the extradition case of a man alleged to have been on the run for more than 15 years from 42 child sex charges in the United Kingdom.

Lee Nigel Tucker, 52, was arrested in Cape Town last month after a provisional arrest request from the UK. He appeared calm and collected in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.

The court heard further argument over whether the alleged offences were extraditable and recognisable in South African law.

Tucker made a living in South Africa as a helicopter pilot and instructor.

It was State Advocate Dave Damerell’s contention that Tucker was not a holidaymaker in the country. “He was not merely abroad enjoying the sunshine somewhere. He was a fugitive of justice. He broke faith and absconded,” he said in court.

Tucker was sentenced in absentia to eight years imprisonment in Swindon Crown Court. This was for four counts of buggery (anal intercourse), three counts of indecent assault (oral sex) and two counts of administering a stupefying drug in relation to two boys.

Not a fugitive from justice

He lodged an appeal in his absence and this was granted in 2002.

The Court of Appeal ordered that the convictions be quashed and a re-trial be held. It directed that Tucker and his co-appellant be arraigned on a fresh indictment within two months.

His local legal team argued that Tucker was not a fugitive of justice. It believed the State had failed to prove that Tucker knew he was being sought in the UK.

Damerell countered that it was “far-fetched” to claim Tucker knew nothing when he was in communication with legal representatives he had paid at the time.

Tucker’s team was of the opinion that the alleged offences were not extraditable in the country. It also believed he could not be tried twice for the same charges.

It wanted the court to set aside Tucker’s arrest and detention.

Flight risk

In an affidavit opposing bail, an investigating officer submitted Tucker was a flight risk. 

“There are three warrants out for his arrest and an appeal court’s instruction for a re-trial to be held on charges which have not yet prescribed,” Warrant Officer Willem van der Heever said in the document handed to the court.

According to a Crown Prosecution Service document, Tucker was convicted in Portugal in 1993 on charges relating to its Children Act.

The Court of Lisbon handed down a sentence of 64 months in jail but reduced this by amnesty to 52 months. The document said he was banned from Portugal for seven years.

Regional NPA spokesperson, Eric Ntabazalila, said Tucker would be detained in Pollsmoor Prison’s hospital section.

His next appearance was on Monday.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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