Krejcir sentencing postponed to next year

RADOVAN KREJCIR
RADOVAN KREJCIR

CZECH fugitive and alleged crime boss Radovan Krejcir will spend a further three months as an awaiting-trial prisoner.

The sentencing of Krejcir and his five co-accused was postponed yet again in the Johannesburg High Court yesterday.

They will return to court on February 22.

In August, Krejcir was found guilty together with businessman Desai Lupondo, taxi boss Siboniso Miya and former Hawks warrant officers Samuel “Saddam” Maruping, Jeff Nthoroane and Lefu Jan Mofokeng of crimes including kidnapping and attempted murder relating to a botched drug deal.

Sentencing proceedings have been postponed twice before.

Judge Colin Lamont expressed concern about the fact that the men would remain awaiting-trial prisoners until they are sentenced.

These prisoners have more privileges than those already serving sentences.

The Department of Correctional Services said in September it had uncovered a plot for Krejcir to escape from the Zonderwater Prison, east of Pretoria.

Police spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said they were still investigating this and meetings were being held to prevent similar security breaches in future.

Heavily armed police officers from the National Intervention Unit lined the courtroom yesterday, and reporters were barred from taking laptop computers, cellphones and cameras inside.

Expressing his frustration with the delay yesterday, Lamont grilled the state prosecutor and defence counsel about why the case could not proceed.

Krejcir’s lawyer, Nardus Grove, asked for a postponement because he had not been able to secure an advocate to represent Krejcir.

He said the police had delayed releasing frozen funds that Krejcir’s mother had sent from the Czech Republic for his legal fees.

The money was finally released on Friday, Grove said, but he had been due to pay the advocate by the end of last month

Prosecutor Louis Mashiane opposed the postponement and accused Krejcir of delaying tactics. But Lamont had harsh words. “The police took the money accused number one [Krejcir] needed to defend his case, stalled Mr Grove by promising every day to hand it over until he brought an application . . . and then at the last minute handed it over.

“Do you think that is how the state should treat an accused?” Lamont asked Mashiane.

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