Mall theft accused arrested for bribery

2008-06-04 00:00

A 37-year-old man who allegedly hoped to evade justice in order to emigrate to the United Kingdom, instead found himself under arrest and in prison yesterday for allegedly bribing a police officer to “see to it” that his case was withdrawn.

Jerome Dean Kelly of Wentworth in Durban was due to go on trial before Pietermaritzburg magistrate Ashin Singh yesterday on a charge of theft out of motor vehicles.

The state alleges that Kelly and two accomplices — one of whom earlier pleaded guilty and has already been sentenced in the case — broke into cars parked at the Liberty Mall parking lot during February 2007. The crimes were allegedly caught on camera and the accused and his companions stopped by security guards at the mall.

When he appeared in court yesterday morning, Singh was informed by the prosecution that the state is adding a second charge of bribery against Kelly and asked that he be held in custody.

He was removed to prison in handcuffs, pending an application for bail on June 11.

Police investigating officer Alistair Farrington informed the court that he was paid R1 900 by the accused who asked him to ensure his case was withdrawn as he had already bought his air ticket to the UK.

The Witness learned that Kelly’s co-accused, Fazel Groenewald, who pleaded guilty to the charge, was sentenced to a fine of R7 200 (or two years’ imprisonment) of which R3 600 (or one year’s imprisonment) was conditionally suspended.

The other alleged accomplice turned state witness.

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