Radovan Krejcir is facing a series of criminal trials and two civil matters, including an attempt by the Czech government to extradite him. Picture: Chris Collingridge/ ANA Archive
Johannesburg - Czech crime boss Radovan Krejcir’s attempt to find senior government officials, including Justice Minister Michael Masutha, in contempt of court has failed. However, he has succeeded in improving his prison conditions again, albeit slightly.

This week, Krejcir launched an urgent application at the Joburg High Court against Masutha, the National Commissioner for the Department of Correctional Services, Zac Modise, the regional and area commissioner, as well as head of Leeuwkop prison, where he is jailed.

According to the Czech fugitive, the group had failed to comply with a previous high court order by Judge Ingrid Opperman insisting that his living conditions at the prison be improved.

Krejcir is currently facing a series of criminal trials and two civil matters, including an attempt by the Czech government to extradite him. He has claimed for several months that he does not have proper access to legal documents that he requires to defend himself.

In his latest application this week, Krejcir alleged that even after Opperman’s order he has been unable to secure these documents, that he has not had adequate access to doctors and medication, as well as an orthopedic mattress he was meant to receive. He has also claimed that even though he wishes to study law through Unisa next year, he was told he would have to be transferred to Joburg Central prison to do so.

The State advocate representing the Department of Justice and Correctional Services, Bheki Ndebele, argued that Krejcir’s application not only lacked urgency, but it was spurious as the department had done its utmost to adhere to Judge Opperman’s ruling.

He also said that various medical professionals who had consulted Krejcir had decided he was receiving adequate medical treatment, psychiatric consultations and medication.

However, he conceded during proceedings that even though Krejcir was to be provided with written copies of his various court documents the department had failed to do so on three occasions.

In his ruling, Judge Brian Spilg acknowledged that his peer’s order had on some occasions been breached, particularly the lack of delivery of court documents, though there was no proof that there was malicious intent behind this. Because of this, none of the respondents were to be held in contempt.

While he labelled some aspects of Krejcir’s application as “frivolous”, he did acknowledge the urgency that Krejcir be provided with the materials he needed to prepare for his various trials, some of which will be continuing next month.

In his six-point ruling yesterday, Judge Spilg ordered Krejcir be given any requested printed documents within two hours of a written request. “In the event of any print-out not being made available the fifth respondent (the Leeuwkop prison head) will have to show cause why he should not be held accountable and not be in contempt of this order,” he said.

Thirdly, the authorities needed to consult with an orthopedic surgeon to determine if Krejcir does require an orthopedic mattress. Fourthly, if it is determined his present bed is unsuitable, a new one must be procured and, outside of security risks, it must be delivered to his cell. If the prison fails to comply with the latest ruling, Krejcir is also allowed to approach the court again with three days' notice.

Lastly, he ordered that both parties pay their own costs. Krejcir’s extradition hearing is expected to continue in January next year.

Saturday Star