Rising costs complaint after delay in kidnapping case

2015-07-24 09:29


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Pietermaritzburg - The trial of seven men charged with the July 2013 kidnapping of Underberg businessman Mohsin Patel was again delayed on Thursday amidst defence complaints that the accused are being burdened by escalating legal costs.

Lawyers acting for the men expressed dismay when handed a wad of documents by the state yesterday including “new” statements taken by police that they will now have to study and consult their clients about before trial.

New information, which the defence needs to peruse to prepare for trial, apparently includes a 30-page long statement by the victim.

Lawyers for the various accused said their clients are being burdened by legal costs.

After discussions it was resolved to adjourn the case until August 25, when it is anticipated a trial date will be decided on.

Another issue that may be discussed prior to the trial is whether regional court magistrate Bhekizitha Phoswa may be asked to recuse himself from the case, after he recently rejected a guilty plea tendered in the case by one of the accused, Nasir Ally.

Pakistani national Ally, 25, admitted in his plea — which was read to court by his attorney, Ashraf Mohamed — that he was illegally in South Africa as his asylum permit had expired by the time of his arrest.

He also explained to the court that he became involved in the kidnapping when he saw the victim at a friend’s house in Shelly Beach, and agreed to take care of the man. He admitted that he in fact did so and deprived him of his liberty for four days.

Phoswa refused to accept the guilty plea because Ally did not admit to physically kidnapping Patel.

Ally is one of five Pakistani nationals charged with kidnapping Patel and allegedly demanding a R1 million ransom for him.

The others are: Nadeem Akhder, Khalit Amin, Asif Seem Cheema (also known as Naseem Cheema) and Sikander Akurter.

Two other accused are SAPS members from Pietermaritzburg, Jashandra Supal and Nhlanhla Mkhize, who are the only accused that are out on bail in the case.

The state alleges that Patel was held captive in chains for 22 days before he was found at a house on the South Coast and was freed by investigators.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime

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