Krejcir’s new bid for freedom
Cape Town - Alleged crime boss Radovan Krejcir made an urgent application before the High Court in Johannesburg on Friday seeking to have a judgment denying him bail overturned – with his lawyer arguing that despite two brazen attempts on his life the 45-year-old Krejcir did not fear for his life and would not flee the country if released on bail.
The Czech fugitive was not in court, but there was still a heavy police presence as his wife Katerina Krejcirova and son Denis sat in the front row of the court.
Krejcir and his co-accused Desai Luphondo and Hawks members Samule Modise “Saddam” Maruping and Machache George Jeff Nthoroane are facing charges of kidnapping, assault and attempted murder. In June, they allegedly kidnapped and assaulted a man whose brother had disappeared with a 25kg shipment of tik he had allegedly been recruited to help smuggle through OR Tambo International Airport.
The men deny all the charges against them. Luphondo was released on R10 000 bail, while Maruping and Nthoroane had theirs fixed at R5 000 each.
At the time, magistrate Reginald Dama denied Krejcir bail saying that his history of falsifying passports, committing fraud and absconding from prison and his country of birth were reasons why he was denied bail in December.
Defence lawyer Francois Roetson Friday launched a desperate High Court bid to have Krejcir freed on bail.
Roets argued that Dama had erred in finding Krejcir’s charges a Schedule 5 offence. Arguing that police investigators had failed to prove that the injuries to the victim were of a serious enough nature to constitute grievous bodily harm, Roets said: “He (investigating officer) just said there were burn wounds, he could not say the degree of the burns or that the victim spent time in hospital.”
But prosecutor Rethabo Mashiane retorted: “The victim was burnt with boiling water. Boiling water was poured over his head.”
Roets also argued that magistrate Dama was incorrect in not having allowed them time for cross-examination on an affidavit made by senior SA Revenue Service official Johann van Loggerenberg.
The explosive affidavit highlighted numerous charges against Krejcir, and delved into how Krejcir had fled the Czech Republic to go to the Seychelles and then gone on to enter South Africa illegally.
But Roets said of the lack of cross-examination: “This was a gross irregularity.”
Roets further argued that Krejcir had been out on bail before and had never fled the country. He listed an arrest at OR Tambo International for coming into the country on a fake passport, the fact that he was charged with fraud of a cancer insurance claim as well as charged with robbing Pakistanis in 2012. In all these cases the charges were withdrawn and he was given bail, he said.
“Ignore the press. They have made dark aspersions on the character of Radovan Krejcir. He is a suitable character for bail,” argued Roets.
But Judge Wendell asked the defence if Krejcir had not fled the Czech Republic. “He got on a bicycle and cycled to Poland,” the judge said.
Roets replied that Krejcir fled because his life was in danger. “His father was killed. He was put in a tank of acid,” said Roets.
“But is he not fearing for his life at the moment?” the judge retorted, querying a bomb attack at a Krejcir business, Moneypoint, in Bedfordview in November in which two people were killed and an earlier incident in July when shots were fired at Krejcir by remote from a specially-rigged motor vehicle.
“There have been attempts, but he does not fear that he will be killed if he is released on bail,” said Roets.
But Judge Wendell remarked that Krejcir’s circumstances had changed as he now faced a litany of serious charges, Sars had obtained a preservation order against him, he had an extradition case coming up, and there had been threats on his life.
“These are very different circumstances since 2011 and 2012,” the judge said. “According to the record, every time things get too hot for Krejcir he leaves the country. He did it in the Czech Republic and the Seychelles. Is there not a possibility things are getting too hot for him again?”
She pointed out that Krejcir had indicated he does not believe he will get a fair trial in South Africa.
“He said there was a conspiracy against him, that he is an innocent man,” the judge said.
Roets said Krejcir would stand trial if given bail and comply with bail conditions including house arrest. Asked what bail amount he had in mind, Roets said R50 000. The judge asked if this was not small change for a man like Krejcir. Roets told the court Krejcir would not flee South Africa because there was an Interpol warrant of arrest for him and he would be arrested and deported to the Czech Republic straight away.
“He would also lose something to the tune of R60-million if he became a fugitive from justice,” Roets said, naming the amount Sars has claimed against Krejcir.
But prosecutor Mashiane argued that Krejcir had run away from prison before and that he was a wealthy man outside the country and had money in the Czech Republic as well as the Seychelles.
Forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan said if Krejcir got bail the gangland killings which have been linked to Krejcir and which have rocked Joburg, and even Cape Town with the murder of security boss Cyril Beeka, would continue. Judgment was postponed to January 9. - Weekend Argus