State ordered to give Fidentia files

Leila Samodien

Justice Writer

PROSECUTORS have been ordered to hand over accounting records to fraud accused Arthur Brown.

Brown has claimed the documents are being withheld.

The former Fidentia chief executive faces nine charges, for fraud, corruption, theft and money laundering, and has pleaded not guilty.

Judge Anton Veldhuizen, who is presiding over Brown’s criminal trial, said he was not in a position to say that the accused did not need the documents to prepare his defence.

The trial started last Tuesday, with the State’s first witness – chartered accountant and former Fidentia financial director Graham Maddock – still on the stand.

Judge Veldhuizen said that, given Maddock’s testimony, some of the documents Brown had requested would have to be scrutinised.

“I regard it as prudent and in the interest of justice and a fair trial of the accused that an order be made that these accounting records be made available to [him],” he said.

It had become clear, he said, that a lot of Maddock’s evidence was probably not in dispute and that Brown had indicated that he would probably be in a better position to make “substantial admissions” if he had access to the companies’ accounting systems.

Jannie van Vuuren, SC, for the State, said that the volume of files was “immense” and there would be a cost. But Judge Veldhuizen said if necessary the State would pay.

The trial has been postponed to Monday to allow Brown time to sort the files.

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