Convicted kingpin to testify in own defence
Convicted racketeering and perlemoen poaching kingpin Morné Blignault – already serving 20 years – has opted to testify in his own defence in another case against him in the Port Elizabeth High Court.
Sentencing proceedings for Blignault and four others were halted on Friday after Blignault’s Legal Aid lawyer, Elsabet Theron, told the court Blignault wanted to testify and the defence wanted to bring another witness to testify on his behalf.
Blignault, 46, along with his son, Morné Jnr, 26, Jacob “Japie” Naumann, 35, Jan “Danie” Prinsloo, 31, and Paul Bezuidenhout, 22, pleaded guilty in October to charges of racketeering and contravening the Marine Living Resources Act.
In September, Blignault was convicted on two charges of racketeering and a charge of contravening the act and sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment.
“I was informed by [Blignault’s] wife he wants to testify himself in sentencing proceedings and bring another witness,” Theron said.
Theron asked judge Glenn Goosen for a postponement in order for her to consult with Blignault about his decision to testify in mitigation of sentencing.
Shortly after Theron brought the application, Alwyn Griebenow, who has been representing Morné Jnr, told Goosen he wished to withdraw from the matter.
“After certain happenings over the past week, I cannot continue representing [Morné Jnr],” Griebenow said without offering any further details.
Goosen allowed Griebenow to withdraw.
Morné Jnr said he intended to apply for Legal Aid representation.
The case was postponed to March 4.