Cape Town – Two Moroccan brothers, arrested six months after they allegedly robbed a V & A Waterfront jewellery store of goods worth R15m, appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday. Zakaria and Almahdi Alam, aged 32 and 28, were to have brought a combined bail application on Wednesday before Magistrate Vusi Mlangu, but the proceedings were postponed to January 25 so that an interpreter could be found. They face charges of aggravated robbery, the illegal possession of a firearm and possession of 500 grams of hashish (dagga). On the robbery charge, Advocate Esna Erasmus, of the Western Cape Directorate for Public Prosecutions, alleges that they robbed Harris Jewellers in June last year by threatening a staff member with a firearm. Erasmus alleges they were in illegal possession of a firearm between June 9 and December 18 last year. The hashish was found at their Table View home on December 18 – the day they were arrested. Erasmus told the court the robbery count was a Schedule 6 offence, which meant the brothers had to persuade the court their release on bail was in the interests of justice. Defence attorneys William Booth, for the older brother, and Keith Gess, for the younger, told the court that both brothers in fact understood English. However, they would be required to testify during the bail proceedings, which meant they would also be subjected to cross-examination. To avoid any confusion or misunderstandings during cross-examination, it was in their interests to engage an interpreter.
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