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By Sipho Masombuka, Kingdom Mabuza and Luzuko Pongoma | Jun 30, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

A BRITISH journalist arrested for being part of a plot to discredit South Africa's World Cup security is on his own.

A BRITISH journalist arrested for being part of a plot to discredit South Africa's World Cup security is on his own.

The police arrested Simon Wright, 44, on Monday and he was charged with defeating the ends of justice and contravening the Immigration Act.

He is also accused of harbouring British fan Pavlos Joseph, who stormed the England team's dressing room in Cape Town after their match against Algeria on June 18.

Brigadier Sally de Beer said Wright was granted R3000 bail when he appeared in court in Cape Town on Monday. He is due back in court today.

Police chief General Bheki Cele told the National Press club in Pretoria that the police believed Wright "orchestrated" Joseph's breach of security.

"We believe this was orchestrated and involved the cooperation of a number of individuals," Cele said.

The police also accuse Wright of booking Joseph into a hotel, allegedly using false or incorrect particulars, and interviewing him after the dressing room incident.

"The police believe the motive was to show the World Cup security in a bad light and possibly to profit from the act," Cele said.

While Britain's Sunday Mirror defended Wright's actions yesterday, the British embassy, SA government and SA National Editors Forum distanced themselves from Wright.

Embassy spokesperson Gary Benham said Wright would have to face prosecution on his own.

"We never comment on judiciary processes against British nationals," Benham said.

International Relations and Cooperation department spokesperson Saul Molobi said they would not approach their UK counterparts.

"We would raise the matter through diplomatic channels if a government or an embassy official were involved."

Molobi said since Wright was a private citizen the department would leave the matter to the police.

Sanef chairperson Jovial Rantao said Wright would have to face the law.

"Journalists are not above the law, and Wright must face the consequences of breaking the law," he said.

Cele said yesterday that Wright and Joseph were not acting alone. He said video footage would prove this theory.

After the incident, the Sunday Mirror reported how Joseph had confronted former England captain David Beckham in the change rooms.

He reportedly told Beckham: "David, we've spent a lot of money getting here. This is a disgrace. What are you going to do about it?"

England drew 0-0 with Algeria.

Nick Fullagar, spokesperson for the British newspaper group Trinity Mirror which owns the Sunday Mirror, defended Wright's actions last night.

"It was an absolutely legitimate story that he was involved in," Fullagar was quoted as saying on the Sunday Mirror website.

He said the journalist "conducted himself properly as he would have here in the UK. We have spoken to him and he's got a lawyer".


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