High court review to delay case

FRAUD ACCUSED: Desmond Prinsloo at the magistrate's court. Picture: JUDY DE VEGA
FRAUD ACCUSED: Desmond Prinsloo at the magistrate’s court. Picture: JUDY DE VEGA

A MAGISTRATE’S decision not to recuse himself from a fraud case after the prosecutor became over-friendly towards him will be taken to the high court on review. It will further delay the matter – on the court roll for the past three years – by several more months while the defence waits for a high court date to be set.

In the Port Elizabeth Regional Court yesterday, magistrate Rene Esterhuyse opted not to recuse himself, after first declaring that prosecutor Henning van der Walt had telephoned him and said: “You must get on with giving judgment in this case so we can go out and have a drink together.”

Van der Walt further told Esterhuyse the accused, Desmond Prinsloo, was still conducting his business “as usual”, meaning he was stealing from PE Optical Group where he is a shareholder.

Prinsloo is accused of defrauding the small Port Elizabeth firm out of R2.2-million while employed as the financial manager and accountant, in addition to being a major shareholder.

A case was opened in 2006 and the matter went to trial three years later.

His partner, Colin Wilson, testified against him in 2009, saying the alleged fraud was discovered when a George supplier asked for a meeting in October 2005 because it was owed close to R2-million.

Wilson said the partners had confronted Prinsloo, and he had allegedly confessed and sought forgiveness from them. – Kathryn Kimberley

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