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Judge clashes with Krejcir’s lawyer

Crime & Courts

Johannesburg - Exchanges between Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir's lawyer Annelene van den Heever and Judge Collin Lamont became heated in the High Court in Johannesburg, sitting in Palm Ridge, on Wednesday.

Lamont asked Van den Heever to get to the point of her cross-examination of State witness Paul Mthabela and provide evidence to back-up her questions.

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Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir is seen during an appearance in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court on Monday, 24 February 2014 where he once again applied for bail. Krejcir, Siboniso Miya, Sandton businessman Desai Luphondo, and three members of the Hawks -- Samuel Modise Maropeng, George Jeff Nthoroane and Ian Jan Mofokeng -- were arrested for the kidnapping and attempted murder of an East Rand man.Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

Mthabela was testifying in the trial of Krejcir and five others.

“There comes a point where it becomes an abuse and you are getting there,” Lamont told Van den Heever, explaining that he could not understand why she kept insisting that the witness give the exact time of unfolding events.

“You are bordering that line,” said Lamont.

Van den Heever said she was simply testing the memory of the witness.

She said it would all become relevant once she obtained cellphone records, which she had not yet seen or received from the prosecution team.

After listening to Van den Heever's response, Lamont said: “I expect counsel to treat me with respect.”

He said he did not appreciate the tone with which she addressed him. Van den Heever apologised for her aggression.

“That's the way I speak. That's the tone of my voice. That's the way I address the court,” she said, adding that she meant no disrespect to him.

Krejcir, Desai Luphondo, warrant officers Samuel Maropeng and George Nthoroane, Jan Lefu Mofokeng, and Siboniso Miya face charges of kidnapping, attempted murder, and dealing in drugs.

They allegedly kidnapped Bheki Lukhele in an attempt to make him reveal the whereabouts of his brother, Doctor.

Doctor, who worked for a cargo company at OR Tambo International Airport, had apparently been tasked with transporting 25kg of tik (methamphetamine), allegedly belonging to Krejcir, to Australia.

However, he allegedly disappeared with the drugs.

Lukhele has testified that he was forcibly taken from his Katlehong home, bound, blindfolded, kicked, punched, and had boiling water poured over his head.

All the accused have pleaded not guilty. - Sapa

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