Louka trial set down for January 2015

2014-06-20 12:34
George Louka (File, Sapa)

George Louka (File, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Cypriot national George Louka, accused of killing Teazers strip club boss Lolly Jackson, appeared in the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court on Friday.

Magistrate Eric Mhlari said the case was set down for trial from 26 January to 6 March next year in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, to sit at the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court.

Louka remained in custody at an undisclosed location as agreed to by both the defence and the State, represented by prosecutor Paul Schutte on Friday.

Louka also faces charges of unlawfully possessing a firearm and ammunition.

Mhlari said Louka faced possible life imprisonment if found guilty of murder, and a maximum of 15 years in prison or a R600 000 fine for each of the other two charges.

Before Louka's appearance, four armed police special task force members swept the courtroom for devices and searched people entering the court.

They were also present throughout the proceedings, which lasted about 35 minutes.

Louka, a heavy-set man with short dark brown hair and wearing a dark suit with a white and purple striped collared shirt and white undershirt, entered the courtroom with reporters' cameras and the eyes of those inside focused on him.

Mhlari opened proceedings, after the charges were read out, by requesting a name change on the charge sheet.

"[I] request the name of the accused, as on the charge sheet, be amended to George Smith. In terms of the extradition documentation, he is cited as George Smith," the magistrate said.

With Louka's defence lawyer Owen Blumberg having no objection, Mhlari proceeded to run through the charge sheet, and set the trial date.

Legal representation

As he was speaking, a translator translated proceedings for Louka's benefit into Greek, which Louka spoke himself when addressing the court.

After the trial date was set down, Louka was asked about his legal representation at the trial.

"Your worship, I will appoint the attorney that is in court today, and he will be representing me at the trial too," he replied.

Blumberg said he would likely represent Louka at the trial, though he could not speak to separate charges Louka faced for alleged money laundering and possession of stolen goods, being R1.5m worth of shoes.

That case would be heard at the Kempton Park Regional Court, which was postponed to 17 July for the disclosure of the charge sheet and police docket to the defence.

As to what language Louka would use in both matters, he said through the translator: "I will speak Hellenic, Greek, your worship, in both courts, your worship."

Louka returned to South Africa in February after losing a final appeal, the last of several attempts to avoid extradition.

He fled South Africa after Jackson was killed at a house on the East Rand on 3 May 2010.

Louka allegedly phoned Gauteng crime intelligence boss Joey Mabasa and confessed to killing Jackson shortly after the murder.

Read more on:    lolly jackson  |  george louka  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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