State granted postponement in Thulsie terror case
THE STATE was yesterday granted a three-month postponement to continue gathering evidence from international sources against terror-accused twins Brandon-Lee and TonyLee Thulsie.
During court proceedings last week, prosecutor Chris MacAdam said the State would withdraw the charges if no evidence materialised from the international countries it was collaborating with.
The State argued the postponement was necessary to consult the governments of the US‚ Britain, France‚ Kenya, Mozambique‚ Syria and Turkey to gather further evidence in the case.
In granting the postponement, magistrate Peter du Plessis said the State had proved it was not an unreasonable request. “It’s far more complex to get international collaboration than to take a statement from a witness locally. This isn’t just walking into a house and sitting down to question the witness,” he said.
“South Africa is part of an international body of nations that has ascribed to a certain attitude towards terrorism. We have to support and assist each other in the prevention and protection of terrorist-related activities.
“The State has a duty both to our society and to other nations to take all the lawful steps for effective prosecution,” Du Plessis added.
Addressing any further issue of whether a premature arrest had been made, the magistrate said this was not the case.
“The arrest was deemed lawful because they were a flight risk and had attempted to join Isis in Libya and Syria, which the UN deems a terrorist organisation.
It was appropriate to immediately arrest them because they were a flight risk and intended to attack South African targets,” Du Plessis said.
But he made it clear he was not there to pronounce on the Thulsies but to deal solely with the matter of postponement.
At the news of the delay, the mother of the twins burst into uncontrollable sobs while her daughter held her close in the court gallery.
The State said previously the US authorities had made themselves available to meet the National Prosecuting Authority and the police during the last week of March to discuss evidence regarding to the case.
MacAdam said he knew it was unusual to ask for such a long postponement but argued it was necessary to gather the relevant evidence. “This is not simply local evidence that can be monitored by the court on a two-week basis.”
The twins will remain in custody until the next hearing on April 25.
ON TRIAL: Brandon-Lee and TonyLee Thulsie