Blue light stalker can’t stall jail any longer

2010-12-15 00:00

DURBAN’S blue light stalker, Ismail Sheik, has failed in his bid to have his bail and appeal reinstated. The high court has finally given the green light for him to start serving his 21-year jail sentence.

Dismissing Sheik’s application in a reserved judgment handed down in Pietermaritzburg yesterday, Judge Trevor Gorven with Judge Rishi Seegobin found that Sheik has no prospects of succeeding in an appeal against his multiple convictions.

Sheik’s attorney, Devin Moodley, said he advised Sheik of the outcome of the judgment yesterday morning, but was unable to say when his client would commit himself to prison.

According to the judgment, Sheik’s bail was extended on Friday pending the reserved judgment, on the same conditions as before.

In terms of those conditions he has three days (from the time the judgment was delivered yesterday) to hand himself over to the authorities.

Sheik stands convicted of seven counts of kidnapping, indecent assault and defeating the ends of justice.

Six of the charges arose from incidents in which he sexually molested young women he had confronted near a Durban nightclub after forcing them to accompany him under the pretext that they committed offences. One of the victims alleged that events became “hazy” after she had drunk a cooldrink given to her by Sheik.

In relation to the seventh charge (also defeating the ends of justice), a woman testified that she was stopped on two occasions by Sheik, but had refused to alight from her vehicle or accompany him and instead invited him to follow her to the nearest police station, which he did not do.

Gorven said in yesterday’s judgment that Sheik’s explanation why he did not radio for assistance and why he refused to follow the woman to the nearest police station was a “tissue of lies”.

Sheik lodged an urgent application with the high court last Monday shortly before he had to hand himself over to the prison authorities as a result of his appeal having been struck from the roll by Judge Gorven and Judge Leona Theron on December 3.

The judges had previously given him an ultimatum to be prepared to argue the appeal personally on that date if he was not able to engage a legal representative, the matter having been adjourned several times on the grounds that he had insufficient funds to brief the counsel of his choice.

In yesterday’s reserved judgment, Judge Gorven said that although Sheik had apologised profusely for the many delays caused by his actions and claimed they were not intentionally dilatory, there were numerous difficulties with his explanation.

Gorven said the court was not placed in any position to assess whether, prior to December 1 this year, Sheik had taken any action at all to obtain financial assistance in the prosecution of the appeal.

“His assertion in the application was simply that he was unable to do so”.

Gorven noted that the case has serious consequences for Sheik.

“It must be borne in mind, however, that the interests of justice require finality in matters.

Despite more than 18 months having elapsed since the first adjournment, and more than three-and-a-half years since leave to appeal was granted, the applicant (Sheik) was still not in a position to prosecute the appeal on December 3.

“The complainants also require finality,” the judge said.

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