Fidentia trial hits another snag

2012-11-13 12:18

Cape Town - The trial of former Fidentia chief executive J Arthur Brown hit another delay in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

Brown's defence lawyer June Marks told the court she could not continue without being paid and formally withdrew from the case.

Brown faces a total of nine charges - four of fraud, two of corruption, two of theft and one of money-laundering. One of the fraud counts involves a R40m pyramid investment scheme.

His trial was originally set down for January 31 2011, but has been dogged by delays because of frequent changes in legal representation.

Last month, Cape Judge President John Hlophe told Brown his R1m bail would be withdrawn if he was not ready to proceed on October 10.

Earlier on Tuesday, Brown told the court that "it's an unfortunate situation, not of my own making".

But Judge Anton Veldhuisen hit back and said "a car only runs if it has sufficient petrol in it. The legal profession runs on the same basis.

"One can postpone and postpone, but there comes a time when you have to face it."

He said he would personally call the Legal Aid Board and recommend that Brown's former lawyer, Advocate Braganza Pretorius, be brought back on board.

State Advocate Jannie van Vuuren told the court he had prepared an application to withdraw bail as it was "obvious what was going on".

Veldhuisen said he would not be amenable to withdrawing bail and instead said he would not give lengthy postponements. He postponed the case until Wednesday.

Brown requested permission to address the court and disputed the allegation that he was trying to drag the case out.
He said Marks withdrew because "she is being sequestrated by the Financial Services Board".

He said: "It's not all my fault - I cannot afford to pay for legal representation."