Poach­ing case set for trial

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - FA­TIMA SCHROEDER

THE at­tor­ney- turnedac­cused, who shares the dock with mem­bers of what is be­lieved to be the Western Cape’s big­gest abalone-poach­ing syn­di­cates, says the State is in pos­ses­sion of priv­i­leged doc­u­ments that may com­pro­mise their de­fence to the al­le­ga­tions.

This emerged in the Western Cape High Court yes­ter­day when the at­tor­ney, An­thony Broad­way, ap­peared for a pre- trial con­fer­ence along­side sev­eral mem­bers of the al­leged syn­di­cate, headed by Gans­baai fish­er­man Frank Barends.

How­ever, Cape Judge Pres­i­dent John Hlophe re­fused to con­sider Broad­way’s claims, say­ing a pre-trial con­fer­ence was not the proper fo­rum to deal with this.

Broad­way, Barends and more than 20 coac­cused have been charged with sev­eral con­tra­ven­tions of the Ma­rine Liv­ing Re­sources Act and the Preven­tion of Or­gan­ised Crime Act, in­clud­ing money laun­der­ing and rack­e­teer­ing.

It is al­leged that the syn­di­cate has op­er­ated since 1998 and was man­aged by Chi­nese na­tional Ran Wei, Barends, Chris­ti­aan Crous and Dono­van Dick­son.

Judge Hlophe post­poned the case to April 14 for trial, say­ing it was high time that the mat­ter was cer­ti­fied trial-ready.

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