Cwele’s counsel to contest admissibility of taped phone calls

2010-10-20 00:00

INTERCEPTED telephone calls between Sheryl Cwele, Frank Nabolisa, Tessa Beetge and others could be a vital link which the state is seeking to introduce in Cwele and Nabolisa’s drug trafficking trial in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

However, defence advocates Mvuseni Ngubane and Koos van Vuuren are set to contest the admissibility of the evidence and were yesterday granted an opportunity by Judge Piet Koen to prepare for legal argument to be presented tomorrow.

State advocate Ian Cooke told the judge that the state will prepare a complete list of the telephone calls it intends to rely on and will argue that the evidence is admissible.

“They are calls between the two accused and Tessa and other people. I submit they will give a detailed picture of what actually went on,” Cooke told the judge.

He said the police who intercepted the conversations obtained prior authorisation to do so.

Judge Koen said if argument is only presented tomorrow it seems unlikely the trial will be finalised by the end of the week.

The judge yesterday also asked whether any further consideration has been given to the possibility of obtaining Beetge’s evidence by some means from Brazil where she is imprisoned for smuggling cocaine.

Cooke said he raised this with the Brazilian police officials who testified on Monday, who did not believe it would be a problem.

“On a practical level it shouldn’t be difficult. It might be quite easy to do it on Skype,” Cooke said.

However, a formal request would have to be made to Brazil via the correct channels, he added.

Another “loose end” still to be dealt with by the prosecution is the future testimony of state witness Charmaine Moss.

Moss fell ill before completing her evidence. She was under cross examination when she was diagnosed by a doctor with anxiety disorder, hypertension, panic attacks and insomnia, and declared unfit to testify before October 29.

Moss was the first witness to testify for the state in the case.

She told the court in 2008 Cwele recommended her to an agency offering work opportunities overseas saying she had worked for them “16 or 17 times” in 2005. Cwele described Nabolisa as a “partner” in the agency and referred to him as her “brother”, said Moss.

Moss was due to fly to Turkey, but opted out after she became nervous and was assaulted by Nabolisa, apparently for “asking too many questions”.

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