Judge warns pae­dophile ac­cused

Doubt cast on fugi­tive’s tag tale

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - MIKE BEHR

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.”

PIC­TURES: MIKE BEHR

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.

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