Tight security at Krejcir’s trial sees journos refused entry inside court
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Johannesburg - The murder trial of Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir and his alleged accomplices is continuing under such tight security that even journalists are being turned away by the police.
On Monday, The Star sought to gain entry to courtroom 6E at the South Gauteng High Court, Johannesburg, to report on the trial.
A group of police officers kept guard at the section of the court leading to 6E.
They had set up a turnstile that ensured everyone went in via them. A machine stood ready to scan the bags of individuals permitted to go into the courtroom.
Insisting that not even a reporter would be allowed in, one officer quipped: “Security is tight. No one gets in. We have clear instructions not to allow anyone into the court.”
Another said: “Even if the president were to come here, we’ll tell him that he’s not allowed inside. My brother, really no one is allowed here.”
Phindi Mjonondwane, the National Prosecuting Authority’s South Gauteng spokesperson, told The Star that officers had been stationed there following security risk assessments.
“There were a lot of attempted escapes in the case. A decision was then taken that no one should gain access to the court, not even a Krejcir family member,” she said.
“There are only the police in the courtroom (in addition to law officers). Even friends of the accused and the deceased are not allowed.”
Krejcir’s alleged brazen prison escape plot was thwarted five years ago. Prison officials raided his Zonderwater Correctional Centre cell and reportedly discovered a 9mm pistol, four cellphones and other items.
The Sunday Independent reported at the time that a staggering R246 million had been set aside to execute the plot. The money was apparently for paying prison warders and for a helicopter, among other things.
Krejcir had been convicted of drug dealing, kidnapping and attempted murder at the time.
The trial currently under way at the high court pertains to his other alleged crimes.
He faces charges including murder, conspiracy to murder, theft and unlawful possession of ammunition.
His co-accused are Siboniso Miya, Nkanyiso Mafunda and Siphiwe Memela. The men are facing the music for allegedly killing suspected Bedfordview drug kingpin Sam Issa in 2013.
Issa was gunned down in his car in Bedfordview.
Mjonondwane said journalists could seek permission from the trial judge to gain access to the court.
“Obviously the media needs information to report to the public. What they can do is to write a letter to the judge to gain access. They will be allowed (entry) if (permission) is granted,” she said.