File picture - Serbian fugitive Dobrosav Gavric at the Cape Town Magistrates Court. Picture: David Ritchie

Cape Town - Serbian assassin Dobrosav Gavric, sentenced for a triple murder he committed in Serbia, has been denied refugee status in South Africa for a second time.

Gavric’s first application was refused in February. On November 19 a review committee upheld the original decision and found Gavric, 38, an alleged hitman for a Serbian mafia group, was not a “suitable candidate” for refugee status, the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court heard on Thursday. Although Gavric’s hair and beard have grown a lot longer, he walked up from the holding cells in his trademark gear – spectacles, a checked shirt, dark blue jeans and the black cane he uses to help him walk. He limps as a result of a spinal injury he suffered in 2000, when a bodyguard of one of the three men he killed fired back at him.

Gavric, who has been in jail since December, stared straight ahead throughout the proceedings.

Dave Damerell, the State advocate trying to extradite Gavric to Serbia, told the court that since Gavric’s refugee application had again been refused, his criminal case, in which he is charged with falsifying his identity documents to enter South Africa illegally in 2007, as well as his extradition hearing, should go ahead immediately. But Juan Smuts, Gavric’s attorney, asked for a postponement so he could appeal against the latest refusal.

The case was postponed to January 15 for the defence to give the court an update on its appeal efforts.

Gavric also appeared in the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court yesterday for allegedly being in possession of several grams of cocaine, found in a bag in his BMW X5. The cocaine case was postponed to April.

Gavric used his vehicle to drive murdered underworld boss Cyril Beeka to visit the alleged leader of the Sexy Boys, Jerome Booysen, at about 5pm on March 21 last year in Belhar, just before Beeka was killed. Gavric was injured during the attack. Booysen was named in the Cape Town magistrate’s court in January as a suspect in the killing.

On Thursday Smuts also told the court the State was playing a pro-active role in having Gavric deported, even though it knew he was a witness to Beeka’s murder. He suggested Gavric needed to stay in South Africa in case his testimony was needed.

Several months after the Beeka killing it emerged that Gavric, who entered South Africa under the name Sasa Kovacevic, was in fact a fugitive from Serbia, where he was sentenced in 2006 for a triple murder committed in 2000.

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Weekend Argus