Defence hits at ‘premature’ arrests in ‘bread case’

Published Apr 2, 2012



THE STATE should have completed investigations and compiled a full charge sheet before any arrests were made in “the bread case”.

This assertion was made by advocate Dawie Joubert in the Protea Magistrate’s Court on Friday after the State applied to have the case against his client, Sean Tuna, postponed for further investigations.

Tuna and 14 of his co-accused appeared on Friday for what was supposed to be the start of their trial, but they were told there was still more evidence the State needed to analyse before the trial could formally begin.

Former chief prosecutor Andre “Lampies” Lamprecht; police officers Moses Matsau, Edward Cock, Johan Smit and Takalani Samson; Tuna’s employees, Ashfaq Mashi, Naveet Mashi and Vusi Masina; senior prosecutor Adriaan Lamprecht; attorneys Renier Spies and Fatima Kolia; court orderly Modise Mathibe; Tuna’s business associate Ayub Mohammed; and prosecutor Yusuf Baba have all been charged on 40 counts – from racketeering, extortion, corruption to perjury and defeating the ends of justice, allegedly committed between January 2009 and December 2010.

The State alleges that Tuna, who owns a bakery business, fell out with his former employee, Sergio Goncalves, who broke away from Tuna’s business to start his own bakery. Tuna allegedly used his influence to manipulate the legal system and, with alleged help from police officers and prosecutors, arranged for Goncalves and people close to him to be arrested on false criminal charges.

The accused were arrested between March 1 and November last year, but are all out on bail.

“A person should only be arrested when a case is ready to be prosecuted because the accused are innocent until proven guilty and are entitled to a speedy trial. Why should these accused be kept on the roll for a year while the State does its investigations? There is no reasonable explanation as to why the prosecution is not ready today,” Joubert said, submitting that the matter be struck off the court roll.

“The accused should not be hauled before court unnecessarily, if the State had a case they would have presented a final charge sheet.”

One lawyer argued that the State had approached a complex matter like a bull in a china shop, charging in and arresting people without having a clear case against them.

State prosecutor Patrick Nkuna argued: “We have obtained a lot of technical evidence… laptops, USBs, and they have been sent for analysis. The analysis is not complete yet.”

Magistrate Reginald Dama said it was within the court’s discretion to grant a postponement. “It’s a difficult decision to make, but I cannot shy away from it. I am granting a postponement until July 18,” he said.

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