Drug dealer Glenn Agliotti’s defence counsel, Laurance Hodes, wants the murder charges against his client withdrawn.
Hodes asked Judge Frans Kgomo in the South Gauteng High Court on Thursday afternoon for a month’s postponement to approach the national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) to have the charges scrapped.
Agliotti is on trial for the murder of mining magnate Brett Kebble, who was shot in Melrose, Johannesburg, in 2005.
Hodes said to Kgomo: “We’re appealing to a higher authority. We want to go right to the top. It’s a decision that should be taken by the NDPP.”
Hodes said during Nassif’s re-examination by the state, Nassif had “shot himself in the foot” and contradicted other witnesses.
“It is very hard to sustain these charges when most of the other witnesses are 204 witnesses,” said Hodes, referring to boxer Mikey Schultz, bouncer Nigel McGurk, panel-beating shop owner Faizel “Kappie” Smith and key witness, Clinton Nassif, who were all given indemnity from prosecution. A section 204 witness receives indemnity if their testimony is judged to be truthful.
“The wrong man is in the wrong box,” said Hodes on Thursday.
Chief prosecutor for the state, Dan Dakana, opposed the postponement request, saying “the right man is in the right box”.
Kgomo will decide on Friday whether to grant the postponement.
Bail conditions relaxed
Earlier Kgomo relaxed the bail conditions of Agliotti, much to the dismay of the prosecution.
Hodes on Wednesday asked that Agliotti’s house-arrest condition be removed. Dakana explained that if this condition was removed, Agliotti would be at risk of fleeing the country following his denial of indemnity in the corruption trial of former police national commissioner Jackie Selebi this week.
“What an opportune time for the accused to bring up his bail conditions when he knows he hasn’t been indemnified in the other trial,” said Dakana.
A furious Hodes said that the prosecution could not speculate on whether or not Agliotti would be charged for corruption following the Selebi trial, and could not use that as a basis for holding him under house arrest.
Later on Thursday morning, Hodes’s cross-examination of the state’s key witness, Clinton Nassif, came to an end.
Hodes told the court that Nassif owed Agliotti in excess of R1-million for shares in Nassif’s company that Agliotti paid for but never received, and for a boat that Agliotti and Nassif bought together, but which Nassif sold and traded in for a Lamborghini without giving Agliotti his share.
Nassif said that this was “possible”, although he thought they had “settled it”.
Hodes then went on to ask Nassif whether Agliotti was involved in the planning of the shooting of former Allan Gray executive Stephen Mildenhall in Cape Town in 2005, and the shooting of Kebble. Hodes put it to Nassif that Agliotti played no part in the planning. Nassif said: “I deny that.”
However, when Hodes asked Nassif if Agliotti had killed Kebble, he said: “He never killed him.”
The M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism, supported by M&G Media and the Open Society Foundation for South Africa, produced this story.www.amabhungane.co.za.