State gets time to consult foreign powers on Thulsie twin terror case
The state has been given a chance to further build its case against Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie‚ the twin brothers accused of planning acts of terrorism on South African soil.
Magistrate Peter du Plessis on Wednesday granted the postponement to April‚ requested by prosecutor Chris Macadam in order to gather evidence from other countries‚ at the Johannesburg Magistrates Court.
The brothers from Newclare‚ west of Johannesburg‚ were arrested on July 9 last year after their homes were searched by police.
They face three counts relating to terrorism for their alleged attempts to travel to Syria to join Islamic State and alleged plans to attack US and Jewish interests in South Africa.
The state had argued that the lengthy postponement was necessary to consult the governments of the US‚ Britain‚ France‚ Kenya‚ Mozambique‚ Syria and Turkey to gather further evidence in the case.
Du Plessis found that the request for a postponement was not unreasonable‚ saying it was far more complicated to gather information from other countries than it was to take statements locally.
“We are part of an international body of nations that have ascribed to a certain attitude towards terrorism [and its prevention and prosecution].
“Not only does the state have an obligation to society to ensure prosecution is properly done‚ the state also has an obligation to other nations‚” he said.
According to the state‚ the twins had posted incriminating evidence on their social media accounts. It is seeking access to this information from service providers like Google through US authorities.
US authorities have made themselves available to meet the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the police in the last week of March to go through information provided to them by these service providers.
Macadam said previously that arrests in Kenya and Britain‚ which recently came to state’s attention‚ may also be linked to the Thulsie case.
Advocate Annelene van den Heever‚ for the defence‚ had opposed the application for postponement‚ saying the state’s request violated the twins’ constitutional rights and that the Thulsies’ arrests had been carried out prematurely.
She argued that the case should be struck off the court roll and reinstated when the state has completed its investigation.
Macadam said that the April postponement would be the state’s final delay ahead of trial and that the state may be forced to withdraw the charges against the Thulsies if it is still not prepared by then.
Du Plessis found‚ however‚ that the brothers’ arrests were not premature as the state had received information alleging that the twins were planning attacks in South Africa and were flight risks.
The case returns to court on April 25. – TMG Digital