Media denied access to Krejcir refugee appeal

Judge Hans Fabricius ruled in favour of the state and Krejcir at the North Gauteng High Court on Thursday when he refused to grant media houses access to the latter's upcoming refugee status appeal.

Fabricius' ruling comes in the wake of a two-day hearing that took place at the Pretoria court two weeks ago.

The hearing – a joint application brought by the Mail & Guardian, Independent Newspapers and Media24 – was an attempt to convince the court to allow journalists to be present during Krejcir's appeal on his refugee status

During his representation of the three media houses in mid-November, Alfred Cockrell argued that Krejcir was a public figure who openly courted the media and used them for fame therefore his subsequent request for a private refugee appeal hearing was not justified.

The defense, in their argument, asked Fabricius to bar the media as Refugee Appeal Board rules were very clear that they be held behind closed doors regardless of who the applicant was otherwise the integrity of the proceedings may be compromised.

Following Fabricius' ruling in the latter's favour, media lawyer Dario Milo later told the M&G that an appeal is being considered pending a meeting with counsel.

"Although the judge declared that the ban on access infringed freedom of expression and open justice, he held that the infringement was justifiable on the basis of policy factors that favour confidentiality in asylum proceedings. We are disappointed that the judge accepted that a blanket ban on such access was justifiable, given our argument that a discretion to allow access far better balanced the competing interests involved," said Milo.

Despite ruling against the media, Fabricius found that "the application raised important matters of constitutional substance" so there would be no order as to costs.

Krejcir arrived in the country via the Seychelles in 2007. He applied for refugee status in South Africa but was unsuccessful.

He has appealed the refusal but the appeal hearings have been postponed pending Thursday's ruling on whether the media be allowed to attend them or not.

A date has yet to be set for the upcoming appeal.

Krejcir was again convicted in absentia in his native Czech Republic last week and sentenced to 11 years behind bars for tax evasion of more than half-a-billion crowns, the Prague Daily Monitor reported.

In addition, he was fined three million crowns. His latest conviction follows in the footsteps off other convictions of fraud and tax evasion made against him in his absence in the Czech Republic.

Krejcir is fighting attempts to extradite him to back to the Czech Republic as he fears persecution.


‘We’re satisfied with SA’s land reform policy’— US Ambassador

Top US official is lobbying multinational firms to invest in South Africa

Hosni Mubarak is dead, but the Egypt he built is...

Despite the efforts of the Arab Spring, Egypt is still led by a military dictatorship made in Mubarak’s image

Inside the Security Branch: Torture between brandy and boerewors

A former SB operative, Paul Erasmus, talks about the torture of a young trade unionist, Neil Aggett, and the machinations at John Vorster Square

Press Releases

South Africa’s education system is broken and unequal, and must be fixed without further delay

The Amnesty International report found that the South African government continues to miss its own education upgrading targets

Business travel industry generates billions

Meetings Africa is ready to take advantage of this lucrative opportunity

Conferences connect people to ideas

The World Expo and Meetings Africa are all about stimulating innovation – and income

SAB Zenzele Kabili B-BBEE share scheme

New scheme to be launched following the biggest B-BBEE FMCG payout in South Africa’s history

TFSAs are the gymnasts of the retirement savings world

The idea is to get South Africans to save, but it's best to do your research first to find out if a TFSA is really suited to your needs

Achieving the litmus test of social relevance

The HSS Awards honours scholarly works based on their social relevance and contribution to the humanities and social sciences

Making sense of tax-free savings and investment

Have you made the most of your tax-free investment contributions?

Response to the report of the independent assessors

VUT welcomes the publishing of the report of the independent assessors to investigate concerns of poor governance, leadership, management, corruption and fraud at the university.