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Krejcir co-accused taken to Free State, court told

2014-08-13 19:04

Johannesburg - One of Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir's co-accused was arrested at his home in Sandown, Johannesburg, but detained at a police station in the Free State, the South Gauteng High Court sitting in Palm Ridge heard on Wednesday.

Captain Mashudu Freddy Ramuhala told the court of the lengthy drive that police took with Desai Luphondo to the Free State, making a stop in Kensington.

Ramuhala was the investigating officer in the case which resulted in the arrest of Krejcir and his five co-accused.

Annelene van den Heever, for Luphondo and Krejcir, asked Ramuhala why her client had been detained so far from his home.

"That is the police station I thought was safe," Ramuhala said.

"Safe from what?" asked Van den Heever.

"From anything," he responded.

An entry recorded in the Viljoensdrift police station in the Free State stated that Luphondo was "free of any visible injuries and [had] no complaints".

Ramuhala said it was standard practice for the police officers booking in suspects to ask the suspect these questions and note it.

"So the question was asked [of accused] number two while you were standing next to him?" Van den Heever asked Ramuhala.

"Yes," he answered with his arms crossed over his chest.

Ramuhala, who has 37-years’ experience, was testifying in the trial-within-a-trial aimed at establishing whether Luphondo was pressured into a confession by police.

Trial-within-a-trial

The trial-within-a-trial was launched after Van den Heever objected to the confession being entered as evidence, claiming her client had been unduly influenced into making it.

Ramuhala dismissed the basis of the trial-within-a-trial by denying that he or any of his police team had assaulted Luphondo when he was arrested on 22 November last year.

He said Luphondo offered the confession.

"During the arrest when I explained his rights and informed him of the charge, he told me that he knew about the case and was prepared to make a statement," Ramuhala told the court.

Lumphondo, Krejcir, Warrant Officers Samuel "Saddam" Maropeng and George Nthoroane, Jan Lefu Mofokeng and Siboniso Miya are on trial for kidnapping, attempted murder and dealing in drugs.

They allegedly recruited a man known as Doctor Nkosi to help smuggle 25kg of tik (methamphetamine) to Australia.

He worked for a cargo company at OR Tambo International Airport, when he disappeared with the shipment.

Krejcir and his co-accused allegedly then kidnapped and tortured his brother Bheki Lukhele in a bid to have him reveal his sibling's whereabouts.

Nkosi has also testified in the trial, where he confessed to stealing the drugs.

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