Man ‘caught with 800 Es’

2009-03-06 00:00

A 49-year-old Pietermaritzburg man who faces charges of dealing in 807 ecstasy and 189 mandrax tablets alleges that he was framed by police, his attorney said during his bail hearing in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s court yesterday.

Police say that Loganathan Reddy of Sarojini Road was caught red-handed in his bedroom counting the drugs on February 13 this year, but his wife, Charmaine Reddy, denied in her testimony yesterday that any drugs were found in their home on the day in question.

She told magistrate R.M. Kunene that four policemen and a policewoman arrived at her home after 6 pm. She heard a noise and saw them at her lounge gate. She alleged that one policeman, whom she recognised as someone who had previously been to her property to “harass” her husband, was holding a pair of red bolt cutters as if intending to cut the lock.

She opened the door before the lock was cut, she said.

Reddy said the police stated that they were there to “search”.

She alleged that they found her husband lying on a bed and tipped the mattress and him on to the floor.

Charmaine Reddy said she was taken to the laundry by the female officer and “strip searched”.

She alleged that police also searched the house, but did not find any drugs or anything illegal.

Charmaine Reddy said the police left via the back of the house through a broken wall. About 15 minutes later, they returned with a “package” and then placed her husband under arrest.

Investigating officer Inspector M. Balmookan said that according to his docket, only two policemen went to the Reddys’ house that evening in response to information received from an informer.

He said that according to the officers in question, they entered the house through the open kitchen door and found Reddy in a bedroom busy counting the drugs. They immediately arrested him. There was no mention made of any other person in the house at the time.

Balmookan said he could not comment on the defence allegations as he was not present at the arrest. “To me that is a question for the trial, but I leave it to the discretion of the court,” he said.

He added that Reddy is a “well-known” drug dealer in his community and said a number of parents complained to him that he was feeding their children’s drug addiction by selling drugs to them.

He agreed under cross-examination by Reddy’s attorney, Viren Naidoo, that he has no proof of these allegations, nor have any of the parents concerned laid charges. He alleged that those he spoke to were scared of Reddy.

Balmookan said a profile he obtained of Reddy indicated that he has four previous convictions for dagga offences. He is also standing trial in another court for possession of mandrax powder, and is on bail of R1 000 in that case.

Balmookan said that although Reddy has not evaded his trial in that matter, it involves a very small quantity of mandrax. This case is far more serious and he fears he might abscond if given bail.

Naidoo said Reddy can recall only one previous conviction for a dagga offence in respect of which he was fined R50.

The case is proceeding.

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