Axed ANC heist accused denied access to docket

Present is no stranger to controversy; the Sunday Times previously linked him to a controversial farm deal in Limpopo.
Present is no stranger to controversy; the Sunday Times previously linked him to a controversial farm deal in Limpopo.
Image: File

Axed ANC branch secretary Errol Velile Present and three co-accused arrested after a cash-in-transit heist in Soweto have failed in their bid to get access to the police docket.

Lawyers for the four argued before the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court that they could not adequately prepare for their bail application without having access to the docket‚ something they likened to entering a fighting ring blindfolded.

But delivering his verdict on Friday‚ magistrate John Baloyi quoted sections of the Criminal Procedure Act which stipulated that the accused were not entitled to have the contents of the docket at the bail application stage unless the prosecutor was instructed to do so by the court.

“The application by the defence is premature and is dismissed‚” Baloyi ruled.

The four are now expected to continue with their formal bail application. They are in court under heavy police guard.

Prior to the court proceedings getting underway‚ officials had requested that all those seated in the gallery leave the courtroom. The courtroom was checked and everyone entering afterwards was body searched along with their bags.

Families of the accused as well as members of the media were given colour-coded tags.

Three of the four men entered the courtroom with their heads covered with hoodies while another tied a blue T-shirt over his head.

Present and his co-accused were initially charged with armed robbery. Charges of attempted murder and possession of hijacked motor vehicles were added when the group appeared in court earlier this week.

Present is no stranger to controversy; the Sunday Times previously linked him to a controversial farm deal in Limpopo.

He was the Dobsonville ANC branch secretary in Soweto and a national ANC organiser‚ before the party removed from his position at Luthuli House after news of his arrest made headlines.

His wife Zanele Present told Times Select earlier: “I cannot bring myself to believe that the man of my dreams‚ the father to my children‚ who was my high school sweetheart‚ is the thug people say he is.”

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