Johannesburg - The judge in the Radovan Krejcir trial fears for his safety.
Judge Colin Lamont made this startling revelation on Tuesday, hours after the court heard that a knife was discovered in the presence of Krejcir and his lawyers in a consultation room on Monday.
However, it is unclear whether Judge Lamont’s comments about his own safety was related to the discovery of the knife as he did not elaborate, saying only that it was being investigated.
Judge Lamont appeared to reach the end of his tether with Krejcir’s legal team on Tuesday, when he said the discovery of the knife in a consultation room at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court was the third security breach he had been informed of.
“A huge knife, a bread knife, was discovered in that room. Is that correct?” he asked Krejcir’s legal representative, advocate Annelene van den Heever, as the court proceedings got under way.
She shook her head, which seemed to anger the judge more.
“I will not have you laugh at me,” the judge said.
“Yes, there was, my Lord,” she replied.
On Monday, Van den Heever had brought in a leftover cake from her birthday celebrations the previous day.
“I took it in (to the consultation room), unaware it was in the box with the cake, my Lord,” she said.
“What would’ve happened if that knife had been used by somebody? It’s a dangerous weapon,” Judge Lamont said.
Hours later, as the case was coming to an end, the judge spoke of his own safety.
“There’s an additional matter which concerns my personal security, which is under investigation, as a result of an incident which occurred yesterday (Monday). (It) either constitutes a serious attack on me personally or it’s an accident, but we don’t know which it is.”
Shortly after the knife incident was revealed, the judge said he had also been informed a heating element from a kettle had previously been discovered in a parcel given to Krejcir at the court.
“This whole case concerns allegations of a person pouring boiling water on a person.”
Krejcir and his five co-accused are charged with kidnapping, drug dealing and attempted murder, because they are alleged to have poured boiling water over a kidnap victim.
Lamont said he would now tighten security on all packages.
Van den Heever objected to being “chastised” in the open court without an opportunity to defend herself or her client.
Judge Lamont refused her request for a postponement to allow her to address the issues, and he forced her to continue with her cross-examination of State witness Doctor Nkosi.
Nkosi testified he was the middleman who dodged security measures at OR Tambo International Airport, where he worked for a private company which handles baggage.
Nkosi’s brother was the man allegedly kidnapped and tortured by Krejcir and his five co-accused last June, after Nkosi stole one of the bags of drugs destined for Australia.
“I put it to you, sir, that your brother was never kidnapped,” Van den Heever said.
She picked holes in his testimony, claiming it was “impossible” for him to have been able to circumnavigate security at OR Tambo as he described to the court, which the judge ruled was not to be published.
Nkosi did not tell the police of all details around the drug shipments because he did not trust them, he said.
The trial continues.