NPA abandons Cato Manor top cop appeal

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Copy of nd johan booysen 05 INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Major General Johan Booysens, the former head of the Hawks in KwaZulu-Natal, who had commanded the now disbanded Durban Organised Crime Unit. File photo: Puri Devjee

Durban - The NPA has abandoned an attempt to overturn a High Court decision that set aside all charges against suspended KwaZulu-Natal Hawks head Maj-Gen Johan Booysen.

Booysen's lawyer Carl van der Merwe said on Thursday that notice seeking leave to appeal against Judge Trevor Gorven's decision to have all charges against Booysen dropped had been withdrawn by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

NPA spokesman Nathi Mncube confirmed that the application for leave to appeal, lodged less than a week ago, had been abandoned.

He said the NPA had 14 days from when Gorven handed down his decision in which to lodge an application for leave to appeal.

However the National Director of Public Prosecutions Mxolisi Nxasana had been out of the country and therefore a decision had been taken to lodge the application.

"He (Nxasana) needed more time to apply his mind. This he did and a decision was then taken to withdraw the application."

Van Der Merwe said Booysen would appear in the Durban High Court on Monday to have all the charges against him formally withdrawn.

Gorven's judgement, handed down at the end of February, condemned a decision by then acting national director of public prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba to prosecute Booysen, saying the charges did not meet even the barest of minimum requirements.

"Even accepting the least stringent test for rationality imaginable, the decision of the NDPP (national director of public prosecutions, Jiba) does not pass muster," he wrote in his ruling.

"I can conceive of no test for rationality, however relaxed, which could be satisfied by her explanation. The impugned decisions were arbitrary, offend the principle of legality and, therefore, the rule of law and were unconstitutional."

Booysen, who was head of the now-disbanded Cato Manor serious and violent crimes unit, had been charged, along with his former colleagues, of running a criminal enterprise.

Members of the unit are expected to stand trial on a range of charges, including 28 murder counts, later this year. They allegedly carried out paid hits in the KwaZulu-Natal minibus taxi wars.

Jiba said in her court papers that the unit acted like an organised crime organisation.

Booysen was charged in August 2012 with managing and participating in an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity.

Apart from the racketeering charges, Booysen was accused of two murders, unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition, and defeating or obstructing the course of justice.

Gorven said in his judgment the prosecution had conceded that nothing in the dockets implicated Booysen.

Booysen's application to have the charges set aside was argued in the Durban High Court on February 7 and Gorven handed down his judgment on February 26.

 

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