Controversial Agliotti video admitted

The controversial video recording of drug-trafficker Glenn Agliotti’s interview with the police’s head of crime intelligence, Mulangi Mphego, and members of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), will be shown in the South Gauteng High Court on Thursday, day eight of the trial of former top cop Jackie Selebi. The video was threatened by the defence on Tuesday to be “the end of the state’s case”.

After at least two hours of arguments from both sides, Judge Meyer Joffe ruled that the video is to be admitted as “preliminary evidence”. It is 94 minutes long, and will be viewed on two screens this afternoon.

As it is provisionally admitted as evidence, the judge will view it but will decide later, after potential additional arguments, whether or not to lend any weighting to it.

The recording is apparently of Agliotti, Mphego and the NIA’s Arthur Fraser discussing the investigation into Selebi.

State prosecutor Gerrie Nel argued that a screening of the video would violate Agliotti’s constitutional right to privacy, as he claims to have been interviewed under what he thought were “off the record” circumstances, and was apparently unaware that he was being video taped.

He said the recordings were “ill-gotten gains” which, if admitted, would render the trial unfair and be detrimental to the administration of justice.

Laurence Hodes, Agliotti’s advocate, was also brought in to address the court, and said the fact that the recording was made by a police commissioner who was a subordinate of Selebi at the time, and that the video very soon after found its way into Selebi’s application, needed to addressed as suspicious.

Defence counsel Jaap Cilliers said Joffe needed to use his discretion, and put the interest of justice ahead of that of the witness. And in response to part of Nel’s argument that showing the video would be against the public interest, Cilliers said, “we are running the risk that an innocent man may be convicted. It will be a sad day if that’s what society expects from our courts.”

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