Supreme Court ruling a blow for Selebi

Former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi’s attempts to stay out of jail were dealt a severe blow today when the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) dismissed his application to set aside a 15-year sentence for accepting bribes from drug-trafficker Glenn Agliotti.

Selebi was convicted of corruption in July by Judge Meyer Joffe, who sentenced him according to minimum sentencing legislation.If a South African law enforcement official is convicted of accepting a bribe higher than R10 000, he or she serves a minimum of 15 years behind bars.

After his conviction, Selebi applied for leave to appeal his conviction and sentence. Joffe only granted Selebi leave to appeal a narrow aspect of his conviction – whether or not he had received money from Agliotti.Selebi petitioned the SCA to widen his grounds for appeal.

The court ruled today that Selebi may also appeal Joffe’s finding that he benefited Agliotti in return for the bribes by showing him confidential intelligence reports, and attending meetings at his beck and call.

But the SCA dismissed Selebi’s application to appeal his 15-year sentence and Joffe’s finding that there was no proof of a conspiracy by the National Prosecuting Authority against him.This in effect means if the SCA confirms Joffe’s guilty verdict after hearing arguments from Selebi and the state about the bribery, he will be escorted to prison immediately.

The only way for Selebi to then escape prison time would be a successful petition to the Constitutional Court on why the SCA failed to overturn his 15-year sentence.The SCA has also discarded Selebi’s longtime belief that he was the victim of malicious prosecution by prosecutors who wanted to save the Scorpions.

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