Magistrate in KZN kidnapping case of ISIS-linked accused hits out at attorney for 'conflict of interest'

2018-04-12 17:23
Fatima Patel and her husband leave the Kagiso Magistrate's Court.  (File, Mpho Raborife, News24)

Fatima Patel and her husband leave the Kagiso Magistrate's Court. (File, Mpho Raborife, News24)

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The magistrate in the trial of a KwaZulu-Natal couple with alleged links to terror group ISIS had stern words for their instructing attorney after it emerged in court that he had apparently also consulted with their co-accused.

"You are an officer of the court and should know better than to go to an accused when you know it is a conflict of interest. As an officer of the law you should know that is inappropriate and unethical," Magistrate Chris Annamalai told attorney Nadeem Mohamed at the Verulam Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

As a result, by midday, the court was yet to deal with the bail applications of any of the accused.

Sayefudeen Del Vecchio, 38, Fatima Patel, 27, Themba Xulu, 19, and Ahmad Jackson Mussa, 36, have been charged with kidnapping, assault and robbery. This after Cape-based horticulturists Rodney and Rachel Saunders went missing in February.

The Saunders, who both have South African and British citizenship, were allegedly kidnapped at or near the Bivane Dam in Vryheid, KwaZulu-Natal. They have not been found to date.

Mussa previously had his case postponed so he could finalise his representation after it became unclear if Legal Aid could represent him.

As in previous appearances, Del Vecchio and Patel again held hands while in the dock.  

READ: ISIS-linked couple hold hands in court

A previous affidavit to court by the investigating officer‚ showed alleged communication between Del Vecchio‚ Patel and a man named Mussa, also known as "Bazooka".

It said the trio communicated over six days after the Saunders' were last heard from.

The court papers said that a preliminary analysis of digital devices indicated "Bazooka's" involvement in the commission of the crimes.

The trial continues.

Read more on:    isis  |  durban

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