The suspected head of a multimillion-rand perlemoen smuggling syndicate claims he fears for his life after alleged death threats from one of the state witnesses.
A warrant was issued for the arrest of Julian Brown after he failed to appear in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court yesterday, but was held over until his next appearance in October.
Lawyer Danie Gouws said the alleged threats had been made by SMS and phone calls.
Meanwhile, the alleged head of another suspected syndicate, Morne Blignault, 45, of Kragga Kamma, claimed he was being harassed by the mother of his former girlfriend, also cited on the state’s extensive witness list.
Lawyer Alwyn Griebenow said Blignault and his co-accused – all alleged employees – were being harassed by Stephanie Parkinson, the mother of Zindi Parkinson, who it is believed committed suicide after their relationship ended.
“We have informed the investigating officer [Leon Eksteen] and prosecutor [Martin le Roux] of Stephanie Parkinson’s interference,” Griebenow said. Le Roux said an agreement had been reached for Brown to be absent from court yesterday.
Brown, 30, of South End, was released on a record-setting R800 000 bail last month after his arrest in connection with the alleged international syndicate.
Two of Brown’s alleged employees – Eugene “Boesman” Victor, 31, of North End, and Brandon Turner, 36, of Westering – made brief appearances in court yesterday.
The case against the men was postponed to October 4. Earlier yesterday, Blignault, his wife, Marshelle, 40, Frederick Nance, 24, Willie Nance, 56, Petrus Smith, 31, and Chinese nationals Huang Zhenyong, 31, and Pan Kekun, 52, had the case against them postponed to December 12.
Co-accused Jacob Naumann, 34, who was initially denied bail due to his string of previous convictions – a decision which was later overturned on appeal – did not appear after he was arrested at the weekend for allegedly shoplifting.
A warrant was also issued for his arrest, but was held over to November.
All accused face charges which include racketeering.