Guatemalan murder accused's case postponed

2016-05-06 20:30
Community Court Cape Town. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Community Court Cape Town. (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - Guatemalan murder accused Diego Dougherty will stay in the hospital wing of Pollsmoor Prison after his bail bid was postponed to May 19 in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Friday, because his defence was not ready.

The court also needs to find him a Spanish interpreter after the previous interpreter did not want to work at the State's rate, which he was told was lower than the going rate.

Magistrate Grant Engel demanded that an interpreter be present for the accused, and threatened to arrest the appointed interpreter if he did not pitch next time.

Dougherty faces a charge of murder after his girlfriend, American marketing consultant Gabriela Kabrins Alban, was found dead in their room at the upmarket Camps Bay Retreat Hotel on July 29 last year.

Wearing Mr Price tracksuit pants and a blue button-up shirt, the son of a wealthy Guatemalan family had his hands cuffed in front of him when he was brought into court by police.

A tattoo of the number 13 inside a shield was visible on his neck as he was uncuffed.

It was a stop-start day as the case began in the cramped backlog court in the Cape Town Community Court, where window panes could be heard smashing as the wind battered the run-down building.

It was later moved to another court room two blocks away, in the Iustitia Building opposite the Magistrate's Court, much to the concern of the police who said it was not ideal to have to take him from one court to another on the street. Courts usually have a side entrance to deliver prisoners to holding cells.

Dougherty's lawyer, William Booth, had previously complained about the delays in the case, but on Friday he was not ready to proceed.

Beside the lack of an interpreter, he had received the case docket, but needed to prepare for the formal bail application.

Schedule five

As was the case with paralympian Oscar Pistorius, Dougherty has been charged with a Schedule Five offence and must show very good reasons why he should be granted bail.

The families of Dougherty and Kabrins Albin sat apart from each other in court. His family has issued a statement saying it was a tragedy for both families.

On Dougherty's side, his brother Lucas Dougherty and his nephew Javier Onaco were present, as was the honorary Guatemalan consul to Cape Town, Pedro Estrada Belli.

Lucas Dougherty clarified confusion over the accused's surname, saying it was simply Dougherty, not Dougherty Novella.

No further details emerged on what had happened before she was found dead at the hotel.

Media houses who want to apply for the reversal of the prohibition on filming or taking pictures of the accused have until April 13 to file their papers with the court.

In the meantime, no photographs of the accused may be used.

Read more on:    diego dougherty  |  cape town  |  guatemala  |  crime

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