The year’s top court case head­lin­ers

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - 2011 - BIANCA CA­PA­ZO­RIO

A FORMER po­lice chief, a Bri­tish honey­mooner, a taxi driver and a toi­let saga – all are among the ma­jor court cases that made head­lines dur­ing 2011.

Dis­graced former po­lice chief Jackie Selebi spent his first night in prison this month af­ter his ap­peal against his 15-year sen­tence for cor­rup­tion failed. Selebi has been in ill health since his in­car­cer­a­tion and this week Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices said he was un­der­go­ing dial­y­sis for kid­ney com­pli­ca­tions aris­ing from di­a­betes.

In Cape Town, the trial of Thandi Maqubela and her co-ac­cused, Vela Mabena, kicked off. They are ac­cused of mur­der­ing Maqubela’s hus­band, Judge Pa­trick Maqubela.

Jus­tice Min­is­ter Jeff Radebe’s tes­ti­mony shocked the court on day three as he told how Thandi ap­proached him, claim­ing her hus­band was a sex ad­dict and was cheat­ing on her.

The case has been post­poned un­til next year, when in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer Jo Dry­den, who died re­cently in a car ac­ci­dent, was due to have tes­ti­fied.

Shrien De­wani, ac­cused of pay­ing to have his wife Anni mur­dered while on hon­ey­moon in Cape Town, was told by a Bri­tish court ear­lier this year that he would re­turn to SA to stand trial. His ap­peal was heard this month, with the out­come ex­pected next month.

Sh­eryl Cwele, wife of Min­is­ter of State Se­cu­rity Siyabonga Cwele, was found guilty of re­cruit­ing South Coast mother of two Tessa Beetge to act as a drug mule and bring co­caine into the coun­try from Brazil. She and co-ac­cused, Nige­rian Frank Nabolisa, were sen­tenced to 12 years in prison in May.

Cwele is ap­peal­ing her sen­tence, and her hus­band re­cently ended their mar­riage. She also got the boot in Oc­to­ber from the Hi­bis­cus Coast Mu­nic­i­pal­ity in Kwazulu- Na­tal, where she was work­ing.

Also in KZN, the man known as the Face­book rapist, Thabo Bester, pleaded guilty to rap­ing and rob­bing two mod­els he lured, us­ing prom­ises of a mod­el­ling ca­reer, via so­cial net­work­ing sites. He was sen­tenced to 50 years in prison. He is also ap­pear­ing in court in Al­ber­ton in Jo­han­nes­burg and in Cape Town on charges of kid­nap­ping and mur­der re­spec­tively.

On De­cem­ber 12 Ja­cob Humphreys, the driver of the taxi in which 10 chil­dren were killed when he jumped the Buttskop level cross­ing in Black­heath in Au­gust last year, was found guilty of 10 counts of mur­der and four of at­tempted mur­der. He has ap­pealed the ver­dict. Judge Robert Hen­ney re­voked his R20 000 bail and it looked as if Humphreys would spend Christ­mas in jail. How­ever, his bail was re­in­stated days be­fore the hol­i­days. It will lapse again on Jan­uary 30. In the Western Cape High Court in April, Judge Nathan Eras­mus or­dered the city to en­close 1 316 open toi­lets in Khayelit­sha. The toi­lets in three ar­eas, in­clud­ing Mak­haza, were left un­en­closed by the city, which said lo­cal res­i­dents had agreed to en­close them them­selves. The city has since em­barked on the process of en­clos­ing the toi­lets.

The trial of sib­lings Ni­co­lette and Hardus Lot­ter, and their co-ac­cused Mathew Naidoo, got un­der way in the Dur­ban High Court in March, three years af­ter the three al­legedly mur­dered the Lot­ters’ par­ents, Jo­han and Riekie, in their Westville home.

The trial gripped the coun­try’s imag­i­na­tion with tales of witch­craft and claims by the sib­lings that they had mur­dered their par­ents un­der the in­flu­ence of Naidoo, who had told them he was the “third son of God”.

How­ever, pro­ceed­ings stalled and only re­sumed in Oc­to­ber. Court is now in re­cess, and the fi­nal phase will restart in March next year.

Last week, charges of drunk driv­ing were with­drawn against pres­i­den­tial ad­viser Zizi Kodwa af­ter his blood al­co­hol test showed that he had not been drink­ing when he was ar­rested about 2am on Novem­ber 11.

Kodwa pleaded his in­no­cence, but two con­sta­bles or­dered him to fol­low them to a sta­tion in his own car for a blood test. Kodwa is now su­ing the po­lice for R5 mil­lion for wrong­ful ar­rest.

Additional reporting by the Sun­day Tri­bune.

JACKIE SELEBI: Jailed for cor­rup­tion, he is now hav­ing kid­ney dial­y­sis.

CO-AC­CUSED: Ni­co­lette Lot­ter

FACE­BOOK: Thomas Bester

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