Brown wants fraud cases consolidated

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Former Fidentia boss J Arthur Brown

Cape Town -

Former Fidentia chief executive J Arthur Brown, who faces fraud charges in the Western Cape High Court and the Cape Town Regional Court, hopes to consolidate both cases and go on trial in the High Court.

In the Western Cape High Court on Monday, Judge Anton Veldhuizen told Brown he had no authority to dictate to the State how it should conduct the high court and regional court cases.

The judge said because Brown and co-accused Jacobus Theart had not yet pleaded to the regional court charges, it was possible to run both cases in the high court one after another.

Veldhuizen added it was up to the State to decide.

In the regional court, Brown and Theart, the latter formerly of the Antheru Trust, faces fraud charges involving R700,000.

Brown appeared in the Western Cape High Court on Monday before Veldhuizen in the Fidentia matter. The case still had logistical matters in relation to electronic data and saw Brown asking that his own IT expert be given an opportunity to liaise with the State's expert.

Brown told the court he had “sympathy with the State” in relation to the electronic data that would be used in the case.

He said the prosecution team, senior counsel Jannie van Vuuren and advocate Tersia du Toit did not know what systems Fidentia used.

Brown said he already had discussions with the National Prosecuting Authority's IT experts, and a “plan could be made” if his own experts were required to go to Johannesburg to resolve problems.

The judge responded: “I do not want to waste time. If I postpone the case to tomorrow, I need to know that there will be a reasonable prospect of shortening the proceedings.”

Van Vuuren replied: “If substantial admissions are made by the accused, it will shorten the proceedings, but I have no idea what admissions will be made.”

Veldhuizen said: “I want to get this show on the road, otherwise this will go on for months.”

Veldhuizen said the State's IT expert was about to go on leave, to which the judge responded: “Well, use him while you can.”

Former Fidentia accountant Graeme Maddock was in the witness stand at Monday's proceedings, but did not begin his testimony. He was excused until Tuesday.

The State told the court Maddock could be reached at short notice and that it would take about an hour for him to arrive once notified.

The case continues on Tuesday. - Sapa


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