Johannesburg - George Louca will no longer be appearing in court in person “for his own safety”, after it was revealed that threats to kill him resulted in precautionary measures from police.
The Star revealed on Thursday the man charged with killing Lolly Jackson was the target of an assassination plot, prompting police to tighten up security surrounding him.
Louca was extradited from Cyprus earlier this year to face charges of murdering the “Strip King”, and has so far been kept under strict police surveillance while in custody.
On Thursday, he was set to appear in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court on a separate possession of stolen property charge. But the normally large team of police officers who sweep the courtroom for explosives and other threats were absent.
Louca’s lawyer, Owen Blumberg, told the court his client was no longer safe in his current place of detention, implying that Louca’s security had been compromised.
“There is a very real possibility that my client will have to be placed in new detention facilities,” Blumberg said.
He said he had come to an agreement with the State to have Louca “appear” in court through a closed-circuit television system, as there were concerns over his safety while being transported to court.
Blumberg then asked for a postponement for the State to furnish him with a few outstanding documents. It was postponed to August 6.
On Wednesday, The Star learnt from four different sources that Louca’s security had been compromised and that police had received intelligence about a plot to kill Louca.
Another investigator told The Star that at one of the Cypriot’s last court appearances, Louca was transferred in a civilian car instead of an armed vehicle, further compromising his security.
Louca told The Star in 2012 he believed his life would be endangered if he revealed what he knew of the local criminal underworld.