Judge warns paedophile accused
Doubt cast on fugitive’s tag tale
THE British helicopter pilot facing extradition to the UK on paedophile charges is back out on bail and under 24-hour house arrest after successfully defending charges that he tampered with his electronic monitoring device.
But the latest scrap with the law of one of the UK’s most wanted fugitives came with a stern warning from magistrate Grant Engel: “Any further problems with your device and there will be problems. I can assure you of that.”
Green Point resident Nigel Lee Tucker, 52, originally from Wales, was arrested two weeks ago after his device set off tampering alarms in Correctional Services control room in Pretoria.
But he was released on Thursday, fitted with a new device known as “The Indestructible” after magistrate Engel found there was insufficient evidence to conclusively prove tampering.
Engel ruled that the new device and “some of the most stringent bail conditions that exist”, which Tucker had so far complied with, were sufficient to prevent him from absconding before his extradition hearing next month.
These included R150 000 bail, confiscation of his passports and reporting three times daily to the Sea Point Police Station.
Added security, said Engel, was the newly registered caveat which would cede Tucker’s R5 million home off High Level Road to the State if he fled justice.
At the same time, Engel made no bones that he had his doubts about the credibility of Tucker’s evidence. Quoting from earlier testimony by a senior Correctional Services officer, he told Tucker that his current court appearance was because “you are busy pushing boundaries and you are busy with nonsense”.
A good example was Tucker’s extensive research of his monitoring device.
“I do not think that your Google research was done innocently or for the purposes sketched before court. I will not say why I think the research was done, but I have my serious reservations.”
Although visibly relieved at not having to return to Pollsmoor, where he was jailed for several months during his bail application, Tucker was unrepentant.
If successfully extradited, Tucker, who was first arrested in March, will face 42 sexual offence charges relating to boys under the age of 16. During his April bail hearing, the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court heard that most of the charges against Tucker related to anal or oral sex with underage boys.
“I’m relieved but I didn’t get off doing anything. The f***g thing (device) fell off,” Tucker said afterwards, even though the magistrate had said moments earlier he didn’t believe the accused’s explanation for the monitoring device’s broken retaining clip.
“It was a malicious prosecution. Several members of Correctional Services lied in court. The prosecution were desperate for any reason to put me back inside. And the fact is it was an accident,” Tucker claimed. “Keeping me inside gives the State a huge advantage in this extradition case. It would make liaising with my defence literally impossible.”
Asked to show his new monitoring device, Tucker responded: “The British tabloids can kiss my a***. if they think I’m going to pose for photographs. They got me into this mess in the first place.”
Nigel Lee Tucker, 52, the British helicopter pilot facing extradition to the UK on paedophile charges, is escorted by a Correctional Services official to have a new tracking device fitted.
The new electronic monitoring device, known as “The Indestructible”, which was among Tucker’s new bail conditions.