Fidentia's Brown stressed and depressed, court hears

Former Fidentia boss J Arthur Brown is suffering from acute stress and deep depression, according to his psychiatrist.

This emerged on Tuesday when Brown appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court in a bid to secure bail after his latest arrest.

The application was postponed to Thursday to allow the Cape High Court to first decide on his challenge to the validity of the arrest warrant.

Brown’s attorney, William Booth, handed in to the court a letter from the psychiatrist, Dr Pieter Cilliers, who said Brown was suffering from an acute stress disorder and “a major depressive episode”.

However, he was responding to treatment.

“The prospect of Mr Brown’s successful treatment will be improved if he were to remain in a safe environment where the risk of sexual assault can be prevented,” the doctor said.

Brown has been in the Cape Town Medi-Clinic since he was allegedly raped on the way to Pollsmoor prison in the back of a prisoner transport van two weeks ago.

Booth said his client was still receiving antiretroviral treatment, and would need follow-up treatment for his psychiatric condition.

However, he was able to be in court.

Scorpions prosecutor Bruce Morrison had earlier told the court he was given to understand that Brown was under sedation and not in a fit state to proceed with the bail application.

Morrison argued that it would be premature to hear the application before the high court delivered its ruling.

There was always the possibility that the high court might rule in Brown’s favour, he said.

Magistrate Justhree Steyn postponed the application to Thursday and, after hearing Booth claim there was no psychiatrist and only one doctor for 4 000 awaiting-trial prisoners at Pollsmoor, ordered that Brown continue to be held “under police protection” at the medi-clinic.

“This is not special treatment. The accused was assaulted.
We’ve got medical reports in that regard,” Booth said.

He said Brown spent his days shackled by one leg to his bed, and that last week police at one point lost the key, leaving him unable to go to the toilet.

The court is also expected on Thursday to hear an application by the state for withdrawal of the R1,5-million bail granted to Brown after two earlier fraud and theft arrests.

The state claims since that bail was granted, Brown has defeated the ends of justice by helping his wife, Susan, flee the country to Australia, and that he himself is now a flight risk.

The latest arrest, on May 9, was on charges of fraud, theft and money-laundering involving about R700 000 related to a company named Antheru.—Sapa

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