Krejcir trial-within-a-trial moved forward

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iol news pic Krejcir 24feb court SAPA Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir File picture: Werner Beukes

Johannesburg - After numerous delays, there was progress in the trial-within-a-trial in the matter involving Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir and five others in the Johannesburg High Court sitting in Palm Ridge on Tuesday .

The State called its second witness, police constable Junior Lerato Santi to testify.

He was at the centre of the arrest of Krejcir and one of his co-accused Desai Luphondo.

Santi told the court he drove the white police BMW vehicle that was used to collect the accused during the arrests.

Testifying in Sotho, he denied that any of the policemen who were in his presence had assaulted any of the accused when they arrested them on November 22, 2013.

Santi was also part of the brigade that transported Luphondo from the Viljoensdrift police station to Johannesburg Central Station where he was to deliver a confession.

The trial-within-a-trial was launched following allegations that police officers assaulted and influenced Luphondo into making that confession.

The officer maintained he fetched Luphondo and transported him without any assaults or detours taking place.

According to Luphondo's lawyer, Annelene van den Heever, police kept her client in the parking lot of a McDonald's outlet in Bruma for hours.

“I don't even know where that is,” Santi responded.

He had earlier testified that he was originally deployed in the Free State.

Van den Heever requested that Santi produce his pocket book which all officers use to record their daily activities.

“I didn't have one at the time,” Santi said through an interpreter.

According to Van den Heever, the police who had been transporting Luphondo back to Viljoensdrift after failed attempts to get a confession from him received a call from Colonel Nkosana Killer Ximba.

The phone was passed to Luphondo and he was told what would happen to him if he did not give the confession.

The police officers allegedly then turned the car around and Luphondo was returned to the Johannesburg police station where he gave his confession.

Santi, however, claimed he had no recollection of this.

Van den Heever questioned him about the car tracking records that she claimed would prove this.

Santi told the court he did not know of a tracker in the vehicle, neither did he have any knowledge of how the tracking system worked.

Prosecutor Louis Mashiane told the court Luphondo had addressed the witness in a threatening manner.

“Shortly after the adjournment, accused number two pointed at the witness and in a threatening manner told him to stop lying,” Mashiane said.

Judge Colin Lamont issued a warning to Luphondo and told all six accused that none of them could interact with the witnesses.

At the end of proceedings, he told Luphondo that such actions could result in him losing his bail.

Krejcir, Luphondo, Warrant Officers Samuel “Saddam” Maropeng and George Nthoroane, Jan Lefu Mofokeng and Siboniso Miya are on trial for 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 at the time he disappeared with the shipment.

Krejcir and his co-accused allegedly then kidnapped and tortured his brother, Bheki Lukhele, in a bid to have him reveal his sibling's whereabouts.

Nkosi has also testified in the trial, where he confessed to stealing the drugs.

Shortly before adjourning Tuesday's proceedings, Lamont told witnesses that the late commencement of the trial was unacceptable and called for proceedings to begin promptly at 9.30am on Wednesday.


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