Judge not pleased as Krejcir, co-sentencing postponed again

2015-11-17 18:33


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Johannesburg - Judge Colin Lamont was not pleased on Tuesday when he was yet again forced to postpone sentencing proceedings of Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir and five others in the Johannesburg High Court.

Krejcir and his co-accused were previously convicted of attempted murder, kidnapping and dealing in drugs.

Since convicting the group in August, Lamont has had to postpone the matter four times for various reasons.

On Tuesday morning he voiced his frustrations at yet another postponement, brought by Krejcir's new lawyer Nardus Grové who had taken over the matter from Annelene van der Heever and Piet du Plessis.

Grové had applied to the court for the matter to be postponed as he needed two weeks to prepare for the sentencing procedures.

He had only been granted access to his client's funds on Friday, which had not given him enough time to appoint additional members to his legal team.

He told the court Krejcir's mother had sent funds to South Africa on October 27 to pay for her son's legal fees. The funds were allegedly sent to a third party and subsequently frozen by the SAPS officers handling his client's case.

Prosecutor Louis Mashiane denied the funds were frozen by any SAPS member and told the court they had been seized by the bank where the funds had been deposited.

Lamont responded saying the most important fact was since the funds had arrived by the end of October and Grové had not had access to it until November 13, it made it difficult for him to do his work without knowing whether he would be paid.

Earlier Du Plessis had asked the court for permission to withdraw from the matter as Krejcir would no longer be using his services.

"I have no further mandate to act on behalf of [Krejcir]," Du Plessis said.

Du Plessis had been Annelene van der Heever's instructing attorney. Van Der Heever had previously represented Krejcir and Desai Lupondo, but was now only representing Lupondo.

The court heard Krejcir no longer wanted Van Der Heever as his lawyer after a conflict between the two.

Medical report

When taking over the matter, Grové was told by Du Plessis he planned on asking for a medical report from the staff at Zonderwater Prison's hospital wing, where Krejcir was currently being kept. A clinic nurse was also expected to be called in mitigation of Krejcir's sentence.

The court heard the nurse had previously testified in court on the matter and refused to do it again. She reportedly described her previous testimony as "extremely stressful" and said it had taken days to recover. She had also said she would only come to court if forced to do so.

Lamont expressed his frustrations at the delays and said many people's schedules had been inconvenienced in preparation for this week's planned sentencing proceedings. He admitted there was no other option, but to postpone the matter to allow Krejcir's team sufficient time to prepare.

"Unfortunately the matter cannot proceed today. I have to remand it to February 22 [and it] will run for five days."

Outside court National Prosecutions Authority (NPA) Phindi Louw told reporters although the case had stretched the state's resources, their hands were tied.

Krejcir and the five men were accused of ordering the kidnap and torture of Bheki Lukhele, whose brother Doctor had allegedly disappeared with 25kg of tik. Doctor worked at a cargo company at OR Tambo International Airport.

Lamont found Krejcir, Luphondo and warrant officers Samuel Modise Maropeng, Jan Lefu Mofokeng and Siboniso Miya guilty of the attempted murder of Lukhele.

George Jeff Nthoroane was found guilty only of common assault.

Read more on:    radovan krejcir  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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