Mpisane case: fireworks in court

2012-10-23 13:46

The on-off tax evasion trial of Durban socialite and businessperson Shauwn Mpisane has been adjourned yet again.

This afternoon Regional Court Magistrate Blessing Msane adjourned the case until Friday after defence counsel Jimmy Howse brought an application for the magistrate to hold an inquiry into the series of delays in the prosecution.

Howse did so after the prosecution had applied yesterday to have her tax evasion case joined with fresh charges, some of which stem from her arrest for alleged corruption and defeating the ends of justice last week.

Mpisane and her company, Zikhulise Cleaning, Maintenance and Transport, were originally charged with tax evasion and fraud for allegedly having invoices and financial statements altered to illegally get a tax break of more than R4.7 million.

She was arrested again on Friday, this time for allegedly asking a state witness to alter invoices to trash his evidence in return for a cut in a massive housing contract.

In his application, Howse asked Msane to refuse the adjournment the state wanted, so it could add Friday’s charges and others stemming from the content of her plea argument.

He also asked Msane to order that the trial go ahead with the existing 119 charges and that any other charges be dealt with separately.

Prosecutor Meera Naidu then requested the two-day adjournment to prepare her response to Howse’s application.

Today’s brief proceedings were marked by some barbed exchanges between the two legal teams.

A brief adjournment followed a scuffle between Mpisane’s supporters and photographers trying to snap pictures of her before the magistrate entered the court.

Msane asked that his ruling that no pictures be taken during the proceedings be respected.

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