/ 10 January 2012

Bail application postponed for Beeka’s alleged driver

The Serbian convicted of killing warlord Arkan in Belgrade, and who was allegedly driving local underworld figure Cyril Beeka when he was shot dead in March, has had his bail application postponed to Wednesday.

Dobrosav Gavric (38) was due to apply for bail in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

“His application for bail has been postponed. It will be heard on Wednesday,” National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said.

Gavric has been in custody at the Sea Point police station since his arrest on an extradition warrant in December.

His attorney Juan Smuts said Gavric had given his full cooperation to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks).

However, the deputy director of the Western Cape Directorate for Public Prosecutions, advocate Dave Damerell, told the court that proceedings were to be launched for Gavric’s extradition back to Serbia.

Damerell said the bail proceedings would be under schedule 6 of the Criminal Procedure Act, because the Serbian murders had been premeditated and involved the use of a firearm.

This meant that Gavric had to satisfy the court that substantial and exceptional circumstances justified his release on bail, he said.

‘Seriously ill’
Smuts said his client was “seriously ill” and would fight an extradition request.

Gavric, who fled to South Africa to avoid a 35-year prison sentence, told the Cape Town court on Tuesday that he believed he was unlawfully convicted on fabricated testimony in Serbia.

In an affidavit handed to the court, Gavric said he had been subjected to an unfair trial in Serbia. Gavric struggled into the dock with a leg injury, and at Damerell’s request he was permitted to be seated instead of having to stand during the proceedings.

The defence team, comprising advocates Peter Mihalik and Johann Nortje, and attorneys Smuts and Bertus Preller, disagreed that the bail application was a schedule 6 one.

Mihalik said there was no evidence that the murders were committed in South Africa, and that Gavric was currently out on bail on an unrelated charge of possession of drugs.

He said one of the documents handed to the court was a copy of Gavric’s application for refugee status, in terms of the Refugee Act.

The contents of the application for refugee status were confidential, he said. Gavric handed himself over to the Hawks in Bellville, Cape Town, last month.

According to the Serbian news website B92, Gavric was arrested in 2001 after he allegedly took part in the assassination of two people and wounded a civilian who later died in hospital.

One of those he allegedly killed was feared warlord Zeljko Raznatovic, also known as Arkan. Arkan was a Serbian paramilitary leader killed in Belgrade in January 2000.

He was accused of crimes against humanity during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1992 until 1995 by the Hague Tribunal.

Gavric denied being involved in the murder. He was sentenced to prison in absentia to the 35 years. According to B92, South African police obtained a warrant for Gavric’s arrest after they received an extradition request from Serbian officials.

Beeka was shot dead while he was a passenger in a BMW 4X4 allegedly driven by Gavric near the University of the Western Cape on March 21.
Gavric was shot in the chest. — Sapa