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Krejcir co-accused assaulted in custody, says lawyer

Devereaux Morkel

One of the men accused of kidnapping, assault and attempted murder with Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir, says he was assaulted while in police custody.

Radovan Krejcir (far right) and his three co-accused in court. (Gallo)

One of the men accused of kidnapping, assault and attempted murder along with Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir was assaulted and not fed while in police custody, the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court, east of Johannesburg, heard on Friday.

"My client was detained in police holding cells and he claims he was assaulted ... and that he was starved," said Corne Kriel, for Siboniso Miya.

"At the Johannesburg prison, there are other departments involved like correctional services which offer some buffer of protection, unlike in the police holding cells where he gets booked out and it has been placed on the record that he was assaulted."

Kriel applied for Miya to be moved from the Krugersdorp police station to the Johannesburg prison. He said he should be moved because he would not be able to help with the investigations otherwise.

Prosecutor Louis Mashiane told the court proceedings were delayed on Friday morning because Miya was late after police officers tried to book him out.

"Members of the South African Police Service wanted to book him out this morning but luckily the investigating team were on top of the game," said Mashiane. "I am afraid to say bogus officers because it is unclear if they are police officers or not."

Claims

Krejcir and his four co-accused were appearing on charges of kidnapping, assault, and attempted murder. Mashiane approached the court for a postponement to conclude investigations and said the state would need another three weeks to finalise investigations.

"It is only a fiction of their [defence attorneys'] imagination that the investigations have been completed," he told the court.

Mashiane said the state and defence agreed on a postponement to March 3 after they collated their diaries.

However, Piet du Plessis, for Krejcir, said a postponement was unreasonable and the date was not agreed on. "My admission is accused number one [Krejcir] is in custody. He is being prejudiced because he will have to stay in custody," Du Plessis said.

The small courtroom was filled with over 20 police officers, some in uniform and others in suits. Some were armed. Officers stood outside the courtroom and searched everyone who entered. The street outside the court was partially closed down, with police vehicles parked on the corners.

Krejcir, wearing a black shirt, black jacket and jeans, appeared alongside Miya, Sandton businessperson Desai Luphondo, and two members of the Hawks, warrant officers Samuel Modise Maropeng and George Jeff Nthoroane.

Four of the men were arrested in November. Miya was arrested in January.

Assault

In June, they allegedly kidnapped and assaulted a man whose brother, known only as "Doctor", disappeared with a 25kg shipment of tik he had been recruited to help smuggle through OR Tambo International Airport. They are accused of keeping the man at Krejcir's Money Point business in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, for four days, and assaulting him.

On January 10, the high court in Johannesburg denied Krejcir leave to appeal the dismissal of his application for bail by the Palm Ridge Regional Court on December 13.

Magistrate Reginald Dama on Friday granted the state's application for a postponement after Mashiane indicated that a medical certificate was still outstanding and that police were looking for more suspects. "It is important for the state to obtain the medical report," Dama said.

"The outstanding medical report and the outstanding suspects in my opinion constitute a reasonable reason for a postponement."

The matter was postponed to February 24. – Sapa

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