Argus helps to get red tape victim out of jail


BRIN STINTON should have celebrated his 23rd birthday at home with his family – but instead he was in prison, the victim of bureaucracy. And it was only thanks to the intervention of the Cape Argus that he avoided a second weekend in a cell. Stinton, who was arrested in the early hours of Saturday, May 7, in connection with an allegation of robbery, should have been released on bail because he has a job, a fixed address and no previous convictions. But the investigator in the case was on leave when Stinton first appeared in court last Monday, and so could not confirm that Stinton had a fixed address. The case was postponed until today, with Stinton facing another week in Pollsmoor prison. But his upset parents contacted the Cape Argus and the resulting article prompted the authorities to send him back to the Cape Town Magistrate’s court on Friday, where he was granted bail of R500.00. A relieved Stinton said: “It’s a war zone in there (Pollsmoor)”. He declined to say more. But Stinton’s good fortune did not extend to the two friends arrested with him, Lloyd Mitchell, 20, and a third man identified only as David. Mitchell and David are expected to apply for bail today. Lawyer Josua Greeff, for Stinton and Mitchell, said he did not know why Mitchell had not been brought to court on Friday. Mitchell’s angry mother said on Friday her son had been robbed in prison of his expensive Nike sneakers and a jersey.

Cop killing: man out on bail

News24 – SAPA

Cape Town – A reveller who was refused bail in January after his arrest for the alleged kidnapping, robbery and murder of a retired traffic officer was finally released on bail on Wesnesday – on “new facts”. Justin Shane Norton, 21, was granted bail of R2000 after launching a renewed bail application in the Cape Town regional court before magistrate Piet Nel. In the first week of January, he and four alleged accomplices were arrested for the murder of retired traffic officer Brian George Bland, whose body had been dumped at the entrance to the Portuguese Club in Milnerton. It is allged the five had been on a drinking spree at the time they kidnapped Bland at a supermarket in Milnerton. They go on trial in the Cape High Court on October 10 next year. After the first bail hearing, co-accused Bryan Snyman, 19, took his plight to the Cape High Court, who overruled the bail court’s ruling that there were no exceptional and compelling circumstances to justify his release on bail.

‘Exceptional circumstances’

Nel agreed with defence attorney Keith Gess that Norton’s position should be “no more, no less favourable” than Snyman’s. Nel agreed also that the new facts – the appalling conditions in Pollsmoor Prison, and the fact that Norton had become a father – were exceptional circumstances. He said it was highly undesirable that Norton, as a father, should be detained until the start of the trial, taking into account he already had spent 10 months in custody. Nel said the information now placed before the court indicated an insubstantial case against Norton, and it was likely he would be acquitted. Those still in custody are Arthur Lancaster, 22, his brother Wesley, 20, and Snyman’s brother, Morne, 29.

Paraplegic in court over hijackings


by Norman Joseph – Crime Reporter

A WHEELCHAIR-bound paraplegic of Guteng was allegedly the mastermind behind three hijackings involving cigarettes worth R2.2million. Police have alleged that Selwyn Winston de Vries, 36, of Ennerdale in Johannesburg organised the crimes committed in Rawsonville, Yzerfontein and Kinkelbos. Yesterday, De Vries appeared with his brother Vigel Lennith, 26, and nine other men in the Cape Town Regional Court. Several years ago De Vries was shot and wounded during an attempted armed robbery in Johannesburg, near his home, after which he was left a paraplegic. He owns several taxis in his hometown and areas around Johannesburg. His brother, Vigel Lennith, owns a panel-beating and spray-painting shop in ennerdale. Information from an accomplice in the hijacking cases led police to arrest the brothers at their homes in Ennerdale. All the men face allegations of hijacking three truckloads of cigarettes, as well as the the trucks. The cigarettes all belonged to the British American Tobacco Company. The first load was hijacked in June last year in Rawsonville near Worcester, the second in Yzerfontein near Darling in August, and the third in Kenkelbos, Eastern Cape, in October. It is alleged that the cigarettes were taken to a Pretoria house, which apparently belonged to a friend of one of the accused, from where they were sold. Yesterday, it took five hours for the court to postpone the case. Kenilworth attorney William Booth, appearing for the De Vries brothers, and city attorney Ben Mathewson, appearing for the rest of the men, objected to not receiving copies of the charge sheets and case dockets. Booth and Mathewson said their clients couldn’t be charged under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, as stated by state prosecutor Advocate Helene booysen. “They can’t be charged for all the crimes unless the national directorate of public prosecutions gives permission,” Booth said. Booth said he was in favour of having the charges amalgamated and tried in the Cape High Court. He told the court that Sylwyn Winston de Vries was a diabetic, and required two dozen injections of insulin per week. He also said de Vries’s brother Vigel had hurt his leg when he fell recently, and also needed medical attention. He asked that the brothers be kept at the Goodwood Prison where there were medical facilities, instead of at Pollsmoor Prison in Tokai. Booysen told regional court magistrte Pam Naidoo that the investigating officer in the cases, Detective Inspector van Aarde Heydenrych of the Western Cape Serious Violent Crims Unit, had died in a motor vehicle accident in Kuils River last week. Naidoo postponed the case to July 20 to allow police to appoint a new investigating officer to peruse the seven case dockets, and said the court could arrange a bail application hearing. Booth said he had unsuccessfully applied for bail in Malmesbury Magistrate’s Court on behalf of the De Vries brothers. He had appealed against the court ruling, and would apply again. The men have been charged under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act and could each face 30 years behind bars on each of the cases, or face fines totalling R100million.

Soapie actor in court

News24 – SAPA

Cape Town – Soapie actor Deon Coetzee on Wednesday appeared in the Bellville magistrate’s court as a sequel to his arrest in January on charges of drunken driving, reckless driving and failing to stop after a collision. He appeared before magistrate Clive Linden who postponed the case to January 28 next year for trial, at the request of prosecutor Chris de Jong. It is alleged Coetzee collided with a car near his home on January 30, in the Bellville suburb of Oakdale, and then sped away. It is alleged a witness gave chase and forced Coetzee to a halt near his home. De Jong told the court the case had been referred to the local directorate for public prosecutions who had given instructions that the prosecution proceed. At the request of defence attorney Keith Gess, the magistrate ordered that the hearing commence on January 28, and said any request on January 28 for a further postponement for investigation purposes would be refused. Until recently, Coetzee acted in the TV soapies 7de Laan and Egoli. Gess said Coetzee had recently been engaged for a TV programme in Johannesburg, where his presence would be required daily until next year. It would be inconvenient for Coetzee to have to communte to Cape Town for further court appearances, Gess said. Gess told the court the hearing had been scheduled for August, and that Coetzee was becoming increasingly concerned about the delays.

Popcru keep prisoners illegally locked up


CAPE TOWN – Hundreds of prisoners spent the night in custody illegally after nationwide demonstrations by prison workers disrupted court proceedings. Members of the Police Civil Rights Union (Popcru) downed tools between 7am and 10am yesterday to highlight a range of grievances. Prisoners who were due to attend court proceedings could not be transported to their hearings. Proceedings at regional and Magistrates’ Courts inCape Town were severely disrupted while the Cape High Court had to porpone 11 criminal cases, hearing only one in which the accused was out on bail and able to attend court. prioners who did not appear in court yesterday because of Popcru action could not legally be issued with a warrant to extend their detention in prison. They could not be legally kept in prison without a warrant, Josua Greeff from Mathewson Gess told THISDAY. Only the court can authorise the continued detention of a prisoner, and that authority expires on the day that an acused is due to appear in court, Greeff said. The magistrate or judge then has to sign a warrant to extend the prisoner’s detention. According to section 159 of the Criminal Procedure Act should a prisoner be absent from the court proceedings, such a warrant can only be issued if he or she was ill. The warrant would also have to be accmopanied by a medical report. Greeff said he had dealt with a case in Wynberg Magistrate’s Court yesterday in which the magistrate refused to sign a warrant for the detention because of this provision, and it was noted on the record that the accused was kept in prison unlawfully. He said such a prisoner would be entitled to institute civil action against the minister of correctional services, Ben Skosana. If a warrant for detention was issued without a medical report, a prisoner could apply to the High Court for an order that will enable him or her to be released from custody Greeff said, adding that many prisoners didn’t have the means to do this. Whiel essentially services were maintained at prisons, Judge President at the Cape High Court, John Hlope, said the demonstration had a “devastating effect” on the courts. “The judges could not do anything at all,” he said. He advised judges and magistrates to postpone their cases. Popcru Western Cape secretary Mncedisi Mbolekwa said the union had aimed to disrupt court proceedings because it forced authorities to listen to their grievances. In a memorandum, the union highlighted a range of issues including allowances not being allocated, the department of correctional services not paying contributions to the medical aid scheme, correctional officers being remunerated as students despite finishing a probation period, and the financial management in the department as a whole. “We got the result we were looking for. Management can answer for the prisoners who failed to attend court,” Mbolekwa said. Popcru could yesterday not provide national figures of members who participated in the protest action, but Mbolekwa said 800 members downed tools at Pollsmoor prison alone. Skosana has meanwhile agreed to meet a Popcru delegation today to discuss the union’s grievances.

Duitser nou in hooggeregshof verhoor


Verslaggewer – Llewellyn Prince

KAAPSTAD – Die twee Duizers wat na bewering verlede jaar die seun van ‘n Milnertonse egpaar ontvoer het, sal in die hooggeregshof hier verhoor word. Die besluit is gister aan mnre. Michael Brandl (50) en Marcus Multhaler (36) oorgedra. Hulle het vlugtig in die landdroshof op ‘n ontvoeringsaanklag verskyn. Die aanklag spruit uit ‘n voorval waarin die twee na bewering op 4 Augustus verlede jaar die seun (15) van die Nederlanders mnr. Richard and mev. Myriam Weggelaar ontvoer het. Die seun is in ‘n pakhuis in Parow gevind. Brandl het na die hofverskyning ook op ‘n bedrogaanklag tereggestaan. Dit spruit uit sy beweerde geriefshuwelik met me. Luelle Naidoo van Durban. Me Fiona Cloete, senior staatsaanklaer, het aan landdros Joe Magele gesê sy het gister telefonies opdrag van die Wes-Kaapse direkteur van Openbare Vervolging (DOV) ontvang dat die twee vir die ontvoeringsaak in die hooggeregshof vervolg moet word. Volgens haar het die DOV besluit Brandl moet in die streekhof op die bedrogaanklag verskyn. Volgens haar wag die staat op die klagstaat en hofdatums in albei sake. Mnr. Keigh Gess, die twee se prokureur, het aan Magele gesê sy kliënte is ontevrede omdat die DOV slegs telefonies opdrag aan Cloete kon gee en dit nie op skrif gestel het nie. Volgens hom is die ondersoek na die ontvoeringsaak reeds in November afgehandel. Dit is onaanvaarbaar dat die DV nie gister ‘n geskrewe klagstaat of ‘n hofdatum kon indien nie. “My kliënte meen hul reg op ‘n spoedige verhoor word gesken. Indien die dokumente en die hofdatum nie tydens hul volgende verskyning ingedien word nie, sal ek aansoek doen dat die saak van die rol geskrap of dat my kliënte op borgtog vrygelaat word, ” het Gess gesê. Die beskuldigdes het reeds twee keer om borgtog aansoek gedoen, maar was onsuksesvol. Magele het albei sake tot 24 Februarie uitgestel. Brandl en Multhaler word i die Pollsmoor-gevangenis aangehou.

Ghostly shape of gun gives killer away



Reporter – Jeanne van der Merwe

SIMON Marais told police he found his dead mother, Anita, in a pool of blood after what appeared to be a botched robbery. But a twist in an investigation that seemed doomed to remain unsolved revealed that marais himself was the killer. Anita Marais, a mother of four who was in her 50′s, was shot in the chest five times and left bleeding to death in the bedroom of her Ruyterwacht home on November 8, 2000. There was no sign of the murder weapon. Marais told police that his fi-fi and CDs had been moved, suggesting an attempted robbery. But, six months later, Marais’s uncle accidentally unmasked him as the killer while trying to disconnect the battery in the boot of marais’s whie Mini. “A sports bag was lying on the battery. I saw an ice cream tub inside. I called my wife and told her there’s something wrong here,” Leon Barnard told the parow Regional Court. “There was cement in the ice cream tub and cracks in the shape of a revolver in the cement. “I called the police and Inspector Talmakkies [the investigating officer] said I must open it. “Chipping away the cement revealed the murder weapon, which was ballistically linked to the bullets in Anita Marais’s body. A sobbing Marais was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the crime this week after his attorney claimed the recently married murderer had been subjected to a lifetime of emotional abuse by the victim. In a statement that Marais, now 24, made after the gun was found, he said: “I shot my mother dead. There was an argument between us in the house. I took her firearm out of the cupboard at her bedside and shot her dead with it. I don’t know how many shots I fired.” After I shot her I went to the Elsies River Police Station and told them I found her at home, dead. I hid my mother’s firearm. “The court heard that Marais and his mother had been arguing because he did not have a job. During the trial, Marais’s attorney, Ben Mathewson, tried to stop court proceedings by claiming that Marais’s privacy had been invaded when Barnard took the gun from the bag in his boot. He also claimed Marais’s rights had not been adequately explained to him. Magistrate Marius Marais rejected the claims and convcted Marais of murder. In a plea of clemency, Mathewson argued that Marais had been the youngster of four children and that his mother had subjected him to a lifetime of emotional abuse. On Monday, Marais’s sister, also called Anita, testified that “nothing we did was ever good enough” and that their mother insulted them relentlessly. “My mother had a terrible temper. When she and my father were still married, she would break glass doors and then force us to go to the neighbours to phone the police to have my father arrested. “She stole money from my father’s butchery. She never had anything good to say to any of us,” she said while her brother stood sobbing in the dock. “We would never have dared to bring friends home.” One night Simon stayed out too late with one of his friends and my mother walked down the road screaming Simon was a ‘moffie’ and that he s*** in his pants. “But while the magistrate conceded that Marais had been provoked, he said the crime was shockingly serious”. “You shot your own mother dead. You shot her five times, and when one looks at the circumstances objectively, it was for a mere trifle – because she entered into an argument with you. You could have walked away. “If it weren’t for Mr Barnard, this crime would probably have remained unsolved,” Marais said.

Woman in court after hotel death of American


THE woman who allegedly murdered an American businessman at the Holiday Inn Hotel at the V&A Waterfront earlier this month, was tracked down and arrested after police linked her fingerprints at the scene to another case. Neziswa Khumalo, 34, of Parow was arrested at the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court for the murder when she appeared charged with the possession of stolen property. paul Gillis, 36, was found dead at the Waterfront Holiday Inn on September 9. Traces of toxic substances were found in his blood during a post-mortem. The Schedule 5 substance, which cannot be named because the case is still sub judice, might have acted as a sedative resulting in his death. Gillis, a salesman for irrigation company Underhill International, was in Cape Town on a business trip. His body was found after he had missed business meetings and colleagues made inquiries. Hotel staff unlocked his room door and found his body in his bed. Police later discovered that his laptop, camera and credit cards were missing. They suspected a sex worker syndicate had been luring men to hotel rooms and stealing their possessions, after it was discovered that Gillis was the third victim of crimes of a similar pattern. Khaumalo was arrested on Friday and appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court yesterday, where the case was transferred to the regional court for a bail application. In court yesterday, the prosecutor Merle Engelbrecht told the court that Khumalo had one pending case involving the possession of stolen property. She said a date had been arranged for a bail application in the Cape Town Regional Court and added that the State would oppose bail. She said Khumalo faced charges of murder and robbery. In court Khumalo stood in the dock with her arms folded. She wore a blue tracksuit and green poloneck jersey and her hair had been styled in braids. Her attorney, Reaz Khan of Mathewson Gess Attorneys, confirmed the date of the bail hearing and said he did not wish to add anything. According to the charge sheet, the State alleges that Khumalo assaulted Gillis before robbing him, and then later murdered him at the Holiday Inn at the V&A Waterfront between September 7 and 9. On a page attached to the charge sheet, senior prosecutor David Jacobs said that he had considered the seriousness of the case as well as its media profile before directing it to the regional court for a bail application. Meanwhile, police are investigating the possibility that more than one person was involved. However, police spokeswoman Mary Martins-Engelbrecht said it was too soon to elaborate on the matter. The bail hearing is expected on October 8.

Sasha man appeals to see charge sheet


Reporter – Norman Joseph

POLICE  investigators probing the murder of Sasha-Leigh Crook, 8, declined to let the suspect’s attorney see the case docket, the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court has heard. When 25-year-old Mogamat Yusuf Isaacs appeared in court yesterday, his attorney, Keith Gess, told magistrate Wynand Marais that he would be making an urgent appeal to the State to see the charge sheet, its annexures and the police case docket. Isaacs is facing charges of kidnapping and murdering Sasha-Leigh two weeks ago. Gess, who replaced Legal Aid Board lawyer Bantu Nyembezi, said he would get information “from the State” to see whether the evidence against Isaacs was strong enough. “They did not allow us to have a look at teh case docket, which is vital for me,” Gess said. Yesterday the case was postponed to August 4. Gess told Marais: “On that date we will make a bail application.” At 0.05am yesterday the provincial police’s interventuion unit, headed by Superintendent Peter Woodman, slipped Isaacs into the court through a rear entrance gate at the court that is not often used by the police. A small crowd that gathered near the main entrance gate was not aware that Isaacs had arrived. Most of the people had gone inside Court 4 to find seats. Isaacs appeared in court, but then prosecutor Christenmus “Thinus” van der Vyfer, a senior State advocate of the Director of public Prosectuions office, was not there. So Isaacs was taken down to the holding cells again. Van der Vyfer arrived, and told the court that the charge sheet was temporarily missing. Isaacs, wearing a fez, jeans and a blue tracksuit jacket, was brought up into the court again. Just before Isaacs appeared in court, Sasha-Leigh’s parents, Michelle and Lionel Crook, and the girl’s grandfather, Michael Heneke, arrived under police guard, and were seated in the front row. Unlike Isaac’s first appearance, there were no disruptions by people in the packed gallery. Wynberg police crime intelligence officer Elizabeth van Rooi and Inspector Levinia Pienaar headed the police guard inside the court, and kept the doors closed to prevent more people from overcrowding the courtroom. But every time the door opened, people standing at the door craned their necks to catch a glimpse of Isaacs. isaacs’s family also attended his court appearance yesterday. Sasha-Leigh, a Grade 3 pupil at Thornton Road Primary School, went missing on July 6 from her grandparents’ home in Adrian Road, Ottery. She had been spending the holidays with her grandparents. Her body was found Monday last week near a sportsfield in Pelican Heights. Her face had been disfigured.

Sasha: crowd packs gallery

Cape Town – An angry crowd bayed for the blood of the man who appeared in Wynberg magistrate’s court in Cape Town on Thursday in connection with the murder of eight-year-old Sasha-Leigh Crook. It was the second appearance in court by Moegamat Isaacs, 25. He was not asked to plead and the case was postponed to August 4. The courtroom was packed and angry supporters of the dead girl’s family shouted threats and obscenities at the back gates of the court after the brief hearing. Isaacs appeared before Magistrate Wessel Marais. Defence attorney Keith Gess told the court he needed to approach the state for information before deciding the next step. He did not elaborate on the information he wanted. Gess said there had been a problem on Wednesday because Isaac’s had refused blood and hair samples demanded by the state without first obtaining legal advice. Gess said Isaacs had since received legal advice and was now willing to give the required samples. It is understood that several attorneys have refused to represent Isaacs and that Gess was the only one willing to do so. The girl’s body was found by members of a neighbourhood watch search party on a field in Pelican Heights, near Strandfontein, on July 14. She vanished from her grandparents’ home in Ottery on July 6 while waiting to be taken to a party. She was found fully clothed and lying on her right side. The skin on parts of the left side of her face appeared to have been stripped away and it appeared she had a gash near her throat.