Terry Price seeks perly bail money to pay Sars
Advocate Terry Price owes the SA Revenue Service almost R1m – and he needs perlemoen poaching suspect Julian Brown to settle his legal bill so that the taxman can get his dues.
This is one of the reasons Price gave when asking, in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Thursday, that Brown’s R800,000 bail be reduced.
The court application, that took a somewhat nasty turn when Price accused state attorneys of being pompous and arrogant, was argued before judge Mandela Makaula.
Price told the court that Brown, 32, would have to appoint new counsel if his bail was not reduced as he and instructing attorney Alwyn Griebenow would have to withdraw from the matter.
“If we are forced to withdraw [on financial grounds], this would be huge trouble for [Brown],” Price said.
Brown also did not qualify for legal aid, he said.
If Brown did appoint a different legal team, even if substantially cheaper, it would take time and incur huge costs, Price argued.
He said that he, himself, owed “the Receiver of Revenue R800,000” and he required Brown to pay him what he was due so that he could pay the taxman.
“[The funds] are vital to me [and Griebenow] needs them badly, as he has testified,” Price said.
State prosecutor advocate Martin le Roux said there was no need for Brown to have access to the bail money only to pay his lawyer and that Brown was in a position to generate the money that he needed.
“That [bail] money came from friends and family,” Le Roux said.
“It has since come out that the money has been paid back and [Brown] has generated more money since.”
Le Roux told Makaula it seemed that Price was holding him, and the court, to ransom by claiming that if the money was not available he would withdraw from the case.
He said it was unusual for the financial situation between an accused and his legal counsel to be discussed in court.
“I am a little surprised that the money is needed to pay tax – this is an issue between the defence team and [Brown].”
Price said it was unacceptable for Le Roux to suggest that he and Griebenow “knock on other doors” to get the money they are asking from the court.
“That is my money, not [Brown’s],” he said.
The bail receipt had been ceded to Griebenow by Brown when he took over the case and it was therefore not Brown’s per se.
Price presented three similar cases where the judge had reduced bail amounts significantly to pay legal fees.
However, Le Roux argued that the circumstances in those matters were different and that not all the particulars of the cases were before court.
Makaula asked Price to furnish him with further information in relation to a particular Durban High Court case, which saw the bail amount reduced from R500,000 to R25,000.
“I have never come across a case [like this], other than the three you brought,” he said.
Brown, along with Eugene Victor, 33, and Brandon Turner, 38, faces a string of charges including perlemoen poaching, racketeering and money laundering.
They have all pleaded not guilty.
Judgment in that matter is expected to be delivered on February 5.
Judgment in Brown’s application for a reduction in the bail amount and in Victor’s application for bail is expected on December 14.