Administrative hold up in perlemoen poaching case frustrates accused

2018-10-03 14:05
Abalone smuggling in the Gansbaai area. (Rapport/Steve Eggington)

Abalone smuggling in the Gansbaai area. (Rapport/Steve Eggington)

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Nineteen people accused of being members of a perlemoen poaching syndicate, expressed frustration over delays on Wednesday when it emerged that the State had still not received a certificate authorising charges against them in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA).

The 19 men and women, including nine Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries marine inspectors, were arrested in March.
It is alleged that they operated in Gansbaai, Hermanus, Hawston, Pearly Beach, Bredasdorp, Stanford and Kuils River.

It is further alleged that department officials sold back confiscated perlemoen to buyers, who were also taken into custody on suspicion of being part of the syndicate.

The officials allegedly escorted illegal consignments of perlemoen.

Lawyers for the accused told the Cape Town Regional Court on Wednesday that the State had been given plenty of time to investigate the matter and get its house in order.

Also read: Alleged perlemoen poaching syndicate case heads to High Court

They described how their clients were emotionally and financially prejudiced by the delay and that there was no guarantee that the certificate would be ready by their next appearance.

It was suggested that the case be withdrawn until everything had been finalised.

But prosecutor Blaine Lazarus said he was told the certificate should be available early next month.

"There are 175 other charges I can proceed with [if it's not ready]. It's as simple as that," he added.

Cellphone analysis had been finalised in the investigation. The State has requested that the defence provide it with 25GB memory sticks for the transfer of thousands of pages of records relating to this.

Read more: State awaits cellphone records in case of alleged perlemoen poaching syndicate

The case was postponed to November 13.

Read more on:    cape town  |  courts  |  crime

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