Lawyer: Former Fidentia boss too ill to attend court

Former Fidentia boss J Arthur Brown was still too ill to appear in court, his attorney told a Cape Town magistrate on Tuesday.

The magistrate, Justhree Steyn, was expected to hear a bail application by Brown, recently re-arrested on fresh fraud and theft charges.

The hearing had been delayed to hear the outcome on Monday of Brown’s high court bid for the overturn of the arrest warrant—which was unsuccessful.

On Tuesday, his attorney, William Booth, told Steyn he had been advised by psychiatrist Pieter Cilliers that Brown, who is under police guard at the Cape Town Medi-Clinic, still required treatment and was not in a medical condition to attend the hearing.

Scorpions prosecutor Bruce Morrison asked the magistrate to order Brown be detained at Pollsmoor prison’s hospital section where, Morrison said, he could get whatever treatment he needed.

He also asked Steyn to order that a state psychiatrist examine Brown to ascertain his mental state and whether he was fit to stand trial.

Booth said that in principle it would “not be a problem” to have a state psychiatrist see Brown.

However, if there was going to be an attempt to move Brown to Pollsmoor, he wanted to lead evidence on why this should not happen.

Pollsmoor had no facilities for psychiatric treatment, and only one doctor for 4 000 awaiting-trial prisoners, he said.

Steyn postponed the hearing to June 6.

He told Booth he wanted a medical report on that date explaining Brown’s absence from court, and that if Booth wanted Brown to stay out of Pollsmoor, he should offer evidence on why.

Booth told the South African Press Association afterwards that Brown was suffering from the same psychiatric problems listed by Cilliers in an earlier report.

That report, compiled after Brown was allegedly raped in a prison van, said he was suffering from an acute stress disorder and “a major depressive episode”.—Sapa

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