Terror accused twins case still dragging 39 months after their arrest
On Monday, the case against Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie was set to begin at the high court in Joburg, 39 months after they were arrested.
While it has seen several false starts, prosecutor Adele Barnard informed the court yesterday of another development that forced the shifting of trial commencement.
Barnard revealed that defence lawyers served the State with a request for further particulars on September 3.
These “consisted of about 300 questions’’, Barnard said. The State had not managed to answer all the questions by Monday.
Barnard requested an additional two weeks to allow the prosecution team to answer the questions.
“Today the State is going to request that the case be postponed by agreement. The State will in the meantime respond to these further particulars,” Barnard told the court.
Defence lawyer Nadeem Mohamed said the parties would return to court on November 13 for an update on whether the further particulars were supplied.
A new date for the trial could be set on that day or, as Barnard anticipated, defence lawyers could ask for more particulars.
“They have indicated that they will request further particulars,” Barnard told the court.
The twins, who presented their usual calm demeanour in the dock yesterday, were awaiting trial from Pretoria’s Kgosi Mampuru Prison. They abandoned bail applications in October 2016.
Police nabbed them during raids in Newclare and Azaadville, on the West Rand, in July 2016.
This was after Tony-Lee allegedly discussed the terrorist plans with an undercover US FBI agent between May and June 2016.
The twins faced accusations of being linked to the Islamic State militant group and allegedly planning to detonate explosives at a US embassy and Jewish institutions in South Africa.
The State’s charge sheet, finalised in early 2017, alleged that they were instructed in online chats by an Islamic State network to carry out the attacks.
The targeted institutions would include the US embassy, the UK High Commission, the South Africa Zionist Federation, King David High School in Linksfield, Joburg, and arms manufacturer Denel.
Individuals that the State alleged the twins would target included cartoonist Zapiro, Jews who fight in Israel and return to South Africa, Jewish South African investment banker Roy Topo, and an unidentified gay imam.
Their case has been stuck in pre-trial stages for many months, urging Judge Raylene Keightley to warn defence lawyers to stop delaying it.
“My observation is that there is an attempt by the defence to delay by all means,” Judge Keightley had previously said.
A different juror, Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng, presided over the case yesterday.
Particulars that the defence lawyers previously demanded saw the State printing out piles of documents.
In December last year, Barnard told Judge Keightley that the State would spend no less than R77000 to print out documents which would detail its entire evidence against the Thulsie twins.@BonganiNkosi87