Defence seeks drug rehab for Cunningham

Brent Cunningham Picture: Herald photographer
Brent Cunningham
Picture: Herald photographer

Theft accused Brent Cunningham’s legal team hope to have him released from custody and transferred to a drug rehabilitation facility instead.

In the meantime, Cunningham, 25, will spend another night behind bars while his attorney, Danie Gouws, tries to make the necessary arrangements.

He is expected back in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court tomorrow, when a date for a formal bail application will be arranged.

Cunningham was arrested on February 28 after his mother, Sonja, called the police to report her son for allegedly stealing her Opel Corsa car and a laptop.

Because they were living together in Lorraine, Cunningham must first find an alternative address before the prosecution will consider his application for bail.

The ex-bodybuilder, a shadow of his former burly self, looked nervously around yesterday as he briefly took to the dock.

His family was not present in court.

“We are trying to arrange an alternative address for Mr Cunningham or to have him transferred to a drug rehabilitation facility to receive the necessary help he needs,” Gouws said later yesterday.

The prosecution said it was opposed to bail being granted because of Cunningham’s previous convictions for assault.

Cunningham was just 18 when he first grabbed headlines in 2009 for stabbing Juan Matthews, 19, to death following an altercation over a motorcycle.

He was acquitted of the murder in March 2011, after a court found that he had acted in selfdefence.

In November 2011, he received a suspended prison sentence for assaulting his father, Malcolm, the principal of Bluewater Bay Primary School.

At the time, and part of his bail conditions, he was ordered to undergo regular urine tests because of his steroid addiction, something he claimed caused him to become excessively aggressive.

Then, in 2014, Cunningham was accused of assaulting ex-girlfriend Shireen Ballan and her friends, Albert Erasmus and Chantal Burger. A court once again found he had acted in self-defence and acquitted him.

In 2015, he was convicted of a second assault on his father, and one on his girlfriend at the time, Sharon Roberts.

He was given a suspended prison sentence and placed under house arrest after a plea and sentence agreement was reached with the state.

In addition, Cunningham was ordered to complete anger management programmes.

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