Court clash in J Arthur Brown hearing

Sparks flew in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Friday as the state launched another bid to have former Fidentia boss J Arthur Brown sent for 30 days’ psychiatric observation.

A similar bid was rejected on Thursday by magistrate Justhree Steyn, who is hearing Brown’s application for bail.

After Steyn made that ruling, the court heard testimony from Brown’s psychiatrist, Dr Pieter Cilliers, that Brown suffered from a bipolar disorder, which was in partial remission.

When the court reconvened on Friday, prosecutor Bruce Morrison told Steyn he was making the new bid for observation on the basis of Cilliers’s evidence.

Morrison said there had been inordinate delays in bringing to trial the string of cases in which Brown was involved. The state wanted legal certainty so it would not be in a “roller-coaster situation” where Brown was fine one moment and unable to stand trial the next.

Brown’s attorney, Rashad Kahn, said Morrison’s application was a malicious and destructive attempt to prevent his client from getting bail.

Morrison was trying to “destroy” Brown, Kahn contended.

He said it was at Morrison’s insistence that Brown was sent to Pollsmoor Prison on the day in May when he was allegedly raped in the back of a prisoner transport van. This clearly showed Morrison’s “vindictiveness and viciousness”, Khan said.

Brown needed to be released on bail so he could prepare properly for his first trial in November.

Khan said he had heard Morrison had even phoned Pollsmoor on Thursday to say Brown should be moved out of the hospital section, where he is being held, and put back with other prisoners.

Morrison told Steyn this was a lie.

He also said the law prescribed that the magistrate had to remand an accused to a prison in that court’s jurisdiction when a matter was postponed,

Brown had not been sent to Pollsmoor merely because he wanted him there.

Steyn said he wanted to hear testimony from state psychiatrist Dr Ashraf Jedaar, who has been treating Brown in Pollsmoor.

The hearing was postponed to Monday for Jedaar’s testimony.—Sapa

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