Johannesburg - Radovan Krejcir was nowhere to be seen.
His co-accused, lawyers, court officials and a State witness were ready to continue the trial after the lunch break on Tuesday, but the central figure was absent.
Krejcir’s lawyers were furious that tight security at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court had caused the delay as it allegedly prevented food from reaching their client.
As the court returned after the lunch break, Judge Colin Lamont had to adjourn proceedings for about half an hour because Krejcir had fallen ill and was not alongside his five co-accused in the dock.
Judge Lamont said Krejcir was diabetic and that it was “disgraceful” that someone with such a condition was prevented from receiving food.
Krejcir’s legal representative, advocate Annelene van den Heever, complained that security measures had endangered his health. “My client hasn’t eaten since this morning. In fact, he hasn’t eaten this morning,” she said.
The judge lambasted security officials for not following his previous order that Krejcir’s food be scanned and handed over to police by 9.30am every morning to ensure he would have access to it during the day.
When the court - and Krejcir - returned later, Judge Lamont turned his frustration on him.
Judge Lamont said he had been informed during the adjournment that Krejcir had refused to return to the dock in protest. “I will not tolerate that conduct again,” he warned.
The judge said he would not allow the court to be “held to ransom” by protests and said there were more appropriate channels to air grievances.
Van den Heever said there was a misunderstanding and that Krejcir had not refused to be brought back up. He said that Krejcir was too ill to appear in court at that stage.
Earlier, Van den Heever cross-examined the latest witness in the kidnapping, attempted murder and drug dealing trial. Bhekizitha Khumalo took the stand for the first time and described how he had helped transport drugs that allegedly belonged to the Czech fugitive.
Khumalo said that he worked with a man known as Doctor, the middleman who allegedly disappeared with the drugs destined for Australia last June. Doctor’s brother was then allegedly kidnapped and tortured by Krejcir and his five co-accused in a bid to find him.
Khumalo said he and Doctor had fetched the drugs from Kempton Park and that he was paid R10 000, placed in a black refuse bag, for his work.