Johannesburg - Radovan Krejcir's lawyers wanted to cross-examine the investigating officer on Tuesday after claiming the State would protect him because he was “vulnerable” to questioning.
Johan Spangenberg brought the application on behalf of the Czech fugitive and his five co-accused in the High Court in Johannesburg, sitting in Palm Ridge.
Spangenberg wanted to cross-examine Captain Mashudu Freddy Ramuhala, who testified on Monday in a trial-within-a-trial relating to a confession allegedly made by another accused, Desai Luphondo.
“My learned friend from the State will not call the learned captain. He will protect him from cross-examination by the accused because he knows the captain is vulnerable,” Spangenberg argued.
“Then he's untouchable, the State can have a bite at the cherry and (we) cannot. That is not fair, my lord.”
Judge Colin Lamont said cross-examination should be restricted to issues relevant to the trial-within-a-trial at present and the defence could call Ramuhala later, if it wished.
“You can call him if you want. If you want a witness then he is your witness,” Lamont said.
Spangenberg said he wanted to “strike while the iron is hot” as it could strengthen the case for his client, George Nthoroane, specifically.
“It may elicit evidence which is beneficial to him during the main trial,” he said.
Spangenberg said the defence also wanted to question Ramuhala about the police's alleged failure to hold an identity parade before arresting Nthoroane.
Nthoroane, Krejcir, Luphondo, Warrant Officers Samuel “Saddam” Maropeng, Jan Lefu Mofokeng and Siboniso Miya were charged following allegations that they recruited a man known as Doctor Nkosi to help smuggle 25kg of tik (methamphetamine) to Australia, allegedly for Krejcir.
They face charges of kidnapping, attempted murder and dealing in drugs.
They allegedly recruited a man known as Doctor Nkosi to help smuggle 25kg of tik (methamphetamine) to Australia.
He worked for a cargo company at OR Tambo International Airport, and allegedly disappeared with the shipment.
Krejcir and his co-accused allegedly kidnapped and tortured his brother, Bheki Lukhele, in a bid to have him reveal his sibling's whereabouts. - Sapa