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Basson case 'first' makes SA legal history

Published Jul 30, 2001

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In a legal first, the Pretoria High Court has ruled that two state advocates may cross-examine apartheid-era chemical warfare expert Dr Wouter Basson, SABC radio news has reported.

Judge Willie Hartzenberg said the exception would prevent unnecessary delays in the trial.

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It will be first time in South African history that an accused will be cross-examined by more than one advocate.

The State prosecutors brought the application at the start of Basson's testimony last Monday.

At the time, defence advocate Jaap Cilliers said it would be highly unfair for Basson to be treated differently. The state had argued that the case consisted of two separate components - one related to fraud charges and the other involving murder-related charges.

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These aspects were prepared and investigated by two separate teams.

Basson faces a total of 46 charges, including fraud, drug trafficking and murder. He has denied guilt on all of the charges. - Sapa

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