Cape Town - 130410 - Idols winner Karen Kortje from Grabouw sits in her car on her phone with a friend (I think) on her phone after she appeared today at Kuils River Magistrates Court on drunk driving charges. She was escorted from court by who appeared to be friends and/or family into a car outside. PICTURE: THOMAS HOLDER. REPORTER: JADE WITTEN.

Cape Town - Former South African Idols winner Karen Kortje has appeared in court on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol.

A smartly dressed Kortje, accompanied by her husband, Shaundore Aspeling, appeared calm as she entered the dock of the Kuils River Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

Prosecutor Denzyl Jooste told magistrate Bea Vermeulen that Kortje, 33, had been arrested on July 8 last year for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol on Van Riebeeck Road, the main road in Kuils River. She was arrested in front of the police station.

Police pulled her over when they noticed her allegedly driving erratically and recklessly. She was arrested, charged and released on a warning to appear in court on Wednesday.


Jooste said that the forensic report detailing Kortje’s blood-alcohol level was still outstanding, and asked for the case to be postponed.

Marcello Stevens, for Kortje, said the date of November 12 suited him, and Vermeulen postponed the case to that date. Afterwards, neither Kortje nor her husband wanted to speak to the media at court.

Kortje is no stranger to controversy. In 2005, she was working as a packer on an apple farm and was the lead singer of Grabouw-based band the Elginaires when she won Idols.

A year later, her then-boyfriend Cheslin Williams was arrested for the murder of Durbanville guest house owner Renata Kellerman. Williams was sentenced to life in prison for the murder.

Kortje, a mother of three, was also slated when she started dating Aspeling - a married man. Aspeling divorced his wife and married Kortje in 2009. Her career took a dive, but recently she has appeared in a number of singing productions.

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Cape Argus