UK man living in Cape Town declared a 'fugitive from justice'

2016-04-11 20:30
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Cape Town – The Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Monday declared UK national Lee Nigel Tucker a fugitive from justice for evading 42 child sex charges for over 15 years.

Tucker, 52, was arrested in Cape Town last month after a provisional arrest request from the UK.

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

Magistrate Grant Engel ruled on several objections raised by Tucker's legal team.

These included arguments that the charges were not extraditable, the warrant of arrest was defective, the accused was already acquitted of the charges and had not been aware that authorities were looking for him.

"This is not the first time that he is before court," Engel said on Monday. He said ignorance of the law was not a defence.

"To my mind, the elements of logic and common sense further militate against Mr Tucker's argument that he was blissfully unaware."

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.

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.

Engel said the fact that the warrant of arrest referred to indecent assault did not make it defective. The offences were similar to those in local legislation.

He said the buggery and indecent assault charges constituted rape in South Africa. 

The court also rejected the defence of double jeopardy as there was never a final judgment.

Engel said being a fugitive from justice did not necessarily mean Tucker would not get bail.

The parties would determine a date for his bail application ahead of an official extradition hearing.

Tucker's lawyer, advocate Reuben Liddell, told the court he would file an affidavit on behalf of his client for bail.

"He is in a relationship with somebody and I imagine at the end of the day it will be for citizenship eventually," he said.

The State indicated it would oppose bail.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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