Louca appears via computer screen

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louca june 20 SAPA Cypriot national George Louca alias George Smith. Photo: Werner Beukes

Johannesburg - Cypriot national George Louca “appeared” in the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court on Wednesday via a closed circuit television system on a charge of possession of stolen property.

The screen, which was set up in the courtroom on a desktop computer, showed Louca's face around 11.30am.

He would no longer be appearing in court in person, according to a newspaper report.

His lawyer Owen Blumberg told the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court on Thursday, where Louca was set to appear on the same charge, that his client's security had been compromised.

Blumberg told the court on Wednesday that Louca had been moved to an alternative place of safety.

Magistrate Eric Mhlari postponed the case to September 9 to allow the defence the opportunity to consult Louca and to make recommendations to the senior public prosecutor if necessary.

The Cypriot national is also accused of killing Teazers strip club boss Lolly Jackson.

The murder case was set down for trial from January 26 to March 6 next year in the Johannesburg High Court, sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court.

An interpreter translated proceedings for Louca's benefit into Greek, which Louca spoke himself when addressing the court.

He listened intently and nodded in agreement when the interpreter spoke.

Although the State said it was ready for trial on the matter, Blumberg said he did not have sufficient time to consult Louca.

“I am consulting with my client on two matters simultaneously,” he told the court.

This was in reference to the possession of stolen property case as well as the murder case.

Prosecutor Kaizer Mpepele said the stolen property case was a 2007 matter and that the postponement would be another unnecessary delay.

“The matter should have been finalised in 2007 already,“ Mpepele said.

Blumberg agreed that the case was delayed and apologised to the court, but said the defence needed more time to consult Louca.

“From a practical perspective and in the interest of justice, we really need the time, your worship,” Blumberg told Mhlari.

Mhlari then granted the defence the request.

Louca was extradited to South Africa in February after losing a final appeal, the last of several attempts to avoid extradition.

He fled South Africa after Jackson was killed at a house on the East Rand on May 3, 2010.

Shortly afterwards he reportedly phoned Gauteng crime intelligence boss Joey Mabasa and allegedly admitted to playing a role in the crime.

Police spokesman Lt-Gen Solomon Makgale said at the time the Hawks were investigating a number of other cases to which Louca could possibly be linked.

Sapa


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