Alleged ‘drug queen’ denied bail

2008-03-18 00:00

The woman dubbed Pietermaritzburg’s alleged “drug queen”, Ramjini Chetty, was denied bail yesterday by a magistrate who found that her release on bail would make a mockery of justice.

Magistrate Celumusa Ndwandwe referred in her judgment to evidence at Chetty’s bail hearing, where Chetty admitted on affidavit that, while under house arrest in connection with another case of alleged drug trafficking and racketeering dating back to 2005, she occasionally visited the Golden Horse casino to alleviate the stress of the impending trial.

Ndwandwe said the onus is on Chetty to comply with her bail conditions in that matter, and it is not up to the state to monitor her movements to force compliance. She found that (in light of Chetty’s previous conduct) there is every chance that if given bail in the present case she would again breach her bail conditions.

The magistrate also referred to the severe nature of the charges facing Chetty.

In her affidavit asking for bail, Chetty said she has young children with special needs requiring her care, but Ndwandwe said her children are able to cope without her.

Ndwandwe further took into account the fact that Chetty is a woman of “uncertain means” who owns no immovable property, and might therefore abscond. Chetty’s home, in Queen Street, where she is alleged to have dealt in drugs, is the subject of a forfeiture order by the high court.

In all the circumstances, the court ruled that the interests of society outweigh the personal circumstances of Chetty.

Chetty was arrested in October last year on fresh allegations of contravening the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act involving over R10 000 worth of cocaine. The state alleges that Chetty controls a drug syndicate.

Her son, Bradwyn Sewdutt, who is also facing the same charges, is currently out on bail. They face 14 counts of dealing in, possession of and conspiracy to deal in cocaine.

The case was postponed until May 5, the date on which Chetty and several co-accused are due to go on trial in connection with the 2005 drug trafficking and racketeering charges.

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