Selebi fails in bid to have cases withdrawn
National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi's bid to have charges of corruption and of defeating the ends of justice against him withdrawn has failed.
Selebi will instead stand trial on April 14 next year in the Johannesburg high court.
The Randburg regional court yesterday dismissed an application by Selebi's lawyers to have the matter thrown out of court or postponed for three weeks.
The postponement, the lawyers said, would be to allow both parties to approach the judge president to discuss delays in the trial.
Dressed in an elegant navy and grey striped suit, Selebi entered the court followed by his entourage - mostly wearing black leather jackets and few in formal suits. They occupied the first two rows of the gallery, while the media and members of the public had to squeeze into the remaining three benches.
Selebi sat quietly in court and listened attentively as the defence tried to convince the court that the state was not ready to proceed, thereby delaying the case for another nine months.
Selebi's counsel, advocate Jaap Cilliers, told the court that the delays were unnecessary and an infringement of the police chief's constitutional right.
"Selebi deserves a speedy trial like any other person. It is clear that the state is not ready to proceed and they are buying time by setting the trial date for next year. Even next year I doubt they will be ready. This case has dragged for over a year, yet we have not received the final docket from the National Prosecuting Authority," Cilliers said.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel disputed that they were not ready to proceed with the trial and said he was surprised the defence was making an issue about the docket and postponement.
"When we met with both the defence and judge president, the trial date was discussed and agreed on. It was further agreed that we would meet after yesterday's postponement where the docket issue would be finalised," Nel said.
Dismissing the application, magistrate Lalita Chetty said: "It was rather immature of the defence to expect this court to interfere now when all parties had agreed on the trial date and the docket issue."