Airport heist trial 'up in air'

Dudu Busani

Dudu Busani

The ruling on whether airport heist accused Chris Billings should be prosecuted has been set for March 25.

Johannesburg high court judge Gerhardus Hatting postponed the matter after a week of arguing between the state and defence team.

Billings, 35, applied for a permanent stay of prosecution on the grounds that he would be deprived of his right to a fair trial because he and former co-accused Nazir Ismail, 40, and Sean Soobramoney, 33, had been using the same defence counsel before they turned state witnesses.

Ismail and Soobramoney were among the 13 people charged with stealing about R100million from SAA cargo in March 2006.

Last year, the two men entered into a plea bargain with the state, getting indemnity in exchange for testimony against their co-accused.

However, Billings claimed that Ismail and Soobramoney were the masterminds behind the robbery.

He said the two planned and executed the robbery. They chose to turn state witnesses when the case against them was overwhelming.