Things got very personal during the sentencing proceedings of ex-Red Ants security boss, Dennis Klassen on 13 December.
State Prosecutor, advocate Lawrence Gcaba accused the advocate for the defence, advocate Deon Pool, of undermining him.
In a dramatic turn, Gcaba asked the magistrate for an adjournment so that he could ‘sort out the matter outside’ with Pool.
Gcaba accused Pool of undermining him.
Pool said he was no racist in spite of the prosecutor’s innuendo that he was a racist. He added that he was used to this type of behaviour from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
“Every time I object to things according to the law, they (NPA) accuse me of being a racist,” said Pool who was talking to a team of his instructing attorneys, Maharajh and Moodley Attorneys during the short adjournment.
The outburst from Gcaba came after Pool objected to a submission that the state was considering during sentencing proceedings. The state wanted to submit a Labour Court ruling that was made against Klassen, during his employment at Telkom.
The defence objected to this submission, pointing to the fact that the state was trying to derail the court with the new submission. Gcaba, however, maintained that the Labour Court ruling was relevant as it dealt with the character of the convicted accused, Klassen.
Magistrate Vincent Pienaar said he will rule on the matter during the next court appearance.
The 62-year-old Klassen was convicted of theft and fraud earlier this year. The charges arise from the purchase of guns that Klassen made using company funds (Red Ants) for his personal use.
The sentencing proceedings were postponed until 16 January. The defence was unhappy about the postponement.
Pool told the court that his client has been in custody for six months. His bail was revoked on the day that he was convicted.
“It is really prejudicial that Klassen is going to spend Christmas and New Year in jail,” Pool said, adding that it is in the interest of justice that the matter is finalised as soon as possible.
He pointed out that both parties (the state and the defence) had a responsibility to see to it that the matter is finalised. He told the court that he is willing to move his holiday plans just to make sure that this case reached finality.
The state prosecutor said he was unavailable. He said he had to attend a colleague’s funeral on 14 December and said he will be out of the province from the following week until mid-January. Pienaar also said he would not be available on 14 December.