Ser­bian hit­man will ar­gue he’s too ill to be held in prison and should be given bail

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - HENRIËTTE GELDENHUYS and JU­NIOR BESTER

AL­LEGED Ser­bian hit­man Do­brosav Gavric will re­turn to the Cape Town Mag­is­trate’s Court in a mat­ter of weeks to ar­gue he is too ill to be held in prison, and should be freed on bail.

Gavric, 38, was sen­tenced to 35 years in jail in Ser­bia for as­sas­si­nat­ing the body­guard of former Ser­bian pres­i­dent Slo­bo­dan Milo­se­vic. He was driv­ing un­der­world boss Cyril Beeka’s BMW X5 when Beeka was shot dead. He will ap­ply for bail on Jan­uary 10.

Mean­while, his Ser­bian wife, Danielle, and the cou­ple’s two daugh­ters of seven and five – who fled Ser­bia with him and have been liv­ing in South Africa since 2008 – will be al­lowed to visit him daily while he is held in the Sea Point po­lice cells.

At the Hawks of­fices in Bel­lville on Tues­day morn­ing, Gavric and his le­gal team ar­rived to meet the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cers in the case, Lieu­tenant-colonel Mike Barkhuizen and Cap­tain Paul Hen­dricks of the Hawks.

He was taken into cus­tody at 10.30am and charged with fal­si­fy­ing iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and pass­port doc­u­ments to en­ter South Africa un­der the false name of Sasa Ko­vace­vic in 2008.

On Wed­nes­day morn­ing, he ap­peared in court to face a charge of fraud.

Gavric’s le­gal team said he had sev­eral grounds on which he could be re­leased on bail.

His at­tor­ney, Juan Smuts, said the crimes for which he had been found guilty in Ser­bia had no bear­ing on the fraud charge bail hear­ing. Although the court would take note of it, his pre­vi­ous sen­tence would not be taken into ac­count when his bail ap­pli­ca­tion was con­sid­ered.

Other grounds in­cluded that Gavric had suf­fered neu­ro­log­i­cal dam­age to his leg when a body­guard shot him dur­ing the as­sas­si­na­tion of Milo­se­vic. He needed in­tra­venous an­tibi­otics and “it will be dan­ger­ous for him to be held in a cell be­cause he needs spe­cialised med­i­cal care”.

Med­i­cal spe­cial­ist Dr Roger Phillips was to give ev­i­dence about Gavric’s health dur­ing the bail hear­ing. He is ex­pected to say Gavric’s neu­ral sys­tem is dy­ing and could give in at any time.

In ad­di­tion, Smuts pointed out, Gavric had a fixed ad­dress. There was no chance he would flee South Africa.

Smuts said Gavric had so far com­plied with all the bail con­di­tions in his co­caine case and had had more than enough op­por­tu­nity to flee.

Last month Gavric was taken into cus­tody and charged with pos­ses­sion of 5g of co­caine al­legedly found in his bag in Beeka’s ve­hi­cle af­ter the drive-by shoot­ing in March.

He was re­leased on R1 500 bail and will ap­pear again in the Bel­lville Mag­is­trate’s Court on Jan­uary 30.

His le­gal team would ar­gue fur­ther that Gavric could not in­ter­fere with State wit­nesses as the wit­nesses were over­seas.

Gavric skipped Ser­bia just be­fore he was sen­tenced in ab­sen­tia for killing Zeljko “Arkan” Raz­na­tovic, a Ser­bian war­lord and former body­guard of Milo­se­vic, to­gether with two other men in a ho­tel lobby in Bel­grade in 2000.

Known in Ser­bia as the “Arkan slayer”, he is be­lieved to be one of the most dan­ger­ous fugi­tives to hide out in South Africa.

His real iden­tify was dis­cov­ered only in June, three months af­ter he was shot in the arm and chest dur­ing the at­tack on Beeka.

Gavric spent a month re­cov­er­ing in hos­pi­tal.

PIC­TURES: CANDICE CHAP­LIN

AL­LEGED AS­SAS­SIN: Do­brosav Gavric, sought in Ser­bia for triple mur­der.

AT HOME: Par­ergon, the apart­ment block in which Gavric lived in Cape Town’s Wa­ter­front.

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