Calitz was ‘protecting children from arrest’

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debbie calitz dec 10

THE STAR

Debbie Calitz and her daughter 21-year-old Kerri-Ann Cross appear at the Hatfield Magistrate's Court in Pretoria. Picture: Chris Collingridge

Johannesburg - Pirate kidnapping victim and author Debbie Calitz was trying to protect her children by allegedly attempting to avoid arrest on drug-related charges.

This is the opinion of a family member quoted on Talk Radio 702, after her arrest on Friday.

Nine people were arrested in the flat and appeared in the Hatfield Magistrate’s Court on Monday morning. Calitz and her children Kerri-Ann Cross and Jason Cross were represented by attorney Latham Dixon.

Donovin Coles, Nicholas Fourie, Matthew Beukes, Zane Coles, Jared Lottering and Timothy Lombard were represented by attorney Peter Jay.

They each face a charge of possession of drugs.

 

The case was postponed to January 30 and they were granted bail of R1 000 each.

“It is still under police investigation,” magistrate Kenneth Chauke said.

The police were called to the flat in Garsfontein because of the noise, said police spokeswoman Captain Pinky Tsinyane.

There they found dagga, dagga plants and “magic mushrooms”.

Tsinyane said the suspects were aged between 19 and 50 and police would wait for the investigation report before commenting further.

Calitz, who was held in captivity for 20 months by Somali pirates, allegedly tried to use her celebrity status to try avoiding arrest.

On Friday, police from the Brooklyn and Garsfontein stations raided Calitz’s Pretoria flat, just six months after her and partner Bruno Pelizzari’s release.

 

Calitz shares the flat with her son and daughter.

 

Another family friend told The Star that Calitz’s 21-year-old daughter, Kerry-Ann Cross, was among those arrested, with her brother, Jason.

The source said friends were “shocked” at the arrests and had heard that one pot plant with dagga had been found in the flat.

Calitz recently released a book, Debbie Calitz: 20 Months in Hostage Hell, about her kidnapping.

According to The Times, Pelizzari has denied he had anything to do with the drug charges.

He is living in Tanzania and said his life was now his boat.

He said that as far as he knew, Calitz did not use drugs.

Pelizzari is quoted as saying that the implications of Calitz’s arrest would be devastating and he now expected people to suggest a drug link in the couple’s kidnapping.

The couple were captured while sailing from Kenya to South Africa. They spent months in captivity, being moved from location to location and being swopped between various pirate gangs.

The two were freed in a military operation, involving Italian and Somali transitional government troops in June.

The pirates first demanded $500 000 (about R4.4 million) for their release, then later demanded $4m, despite their constant pleas that they were ordinary South Africans with no money.

anna.cox@inl.co.za

The Star, Sapa


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