Per­lemoen smug­gler wins right to have 32-year prison term re­viewed

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - JADE WIT­TEN

A BEL­LVILLE mag­is­trate has granted drug and per­lemoen smug­gler Kiyaam Rin­quest his re­quest to have his 32-year prison term re­viewed.

Com­mer­cial Crimes Court Mag­is­trate Am­rith Cha­bi­lall how­ever yes­ter­day dis­missed Rin­quest’s leave to ap­peal against his con­vic­tion.

Last month Cha­bi­lall found Rin­quest, 48, guilty of two counts of deal­ing in drugs, three counts of ve­hi­cle theft, and four counts of poach­ing and pos­ses­sion of per­lemoen and money laun­der­ing. Rin­quest was ac­quit­ted of the re­main­ing 13 of the 23 counts he faced.

Rin­quest’s lawyer Marco Thomas said the court failed to take Rin­quest’s ver­sion of events into ac­count. When he was ar­rested on June 25, 2003, he was found in pos­ses­sion of more than 51 000 man­drax tablets and nearly 1kg of dagga which he said he was merely trans­port­ing to Cape Town from Joburg.

Thomas said Cha­bi­lall found Rin­quest guilty of ve­hi­cle theft but failed to ac­knowl- edge it was part of Rin­quest’s busi­ness to buy and sell cars.

Rin­quest has de­nied pro­cess­ing or be­ing in pos­ses­sion of per­lemoen or in­volve­ment in money laun­der­ing.

In terms of the sen­tence, Thomas said Cha­bi­lall put em­pha­sis on the in­ter­est of the com­mu­nity and not Rin­quest’s per­sonal cir­cum­stances, which in­cluded his age and that he was the sole bread­win­ner in the fam­ily.

State ad­vo­cate Der­ick Vo­gel ar­gued against the ap­pli­ca­tion, say­ing he was cer­tain there were in-house fa­cil­i­ties for pris­on­ers to be re­ha­bil­i­tated.

Vo­gel said the ap­pli­ca­tion pre­sented by the de­fence was rep­e­ti­tion and that Thomas had ar­gued sim­i­larly dur­ing heads of ar­gu­ments be­fore judg­ment.

“It is the opin­ion of the state that the court thor­oughly and clearly stated its rea­sons for judg­ment and has made the cor­rect find­ing.”

Cha­bi­lall said Rin­quest’s ap­pli­ca­tion for leave to ap­peal against his con­vic­tion had “no merit” as the ev­i­dence against him was “over­whelm­ing”.

He said the sen­tence handed down – 35 years for deal­ing in drugs, 12 for ve­hi­cle theft, eight for poach­ing and pos­ses­sion of per­lemoen and eight for money laun­der­ing – would “surely stand the test of scru­tiny”.

Cha­bi­lall granted Rin­quest leave to ap­peal against his sen­tence which should be heard in the Cape High Court within 21 days.

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