Here’s a Krejcir course in postponing the postponement
The Czech fugitive claims torturous prison conditions and bemoans his constant prison transfers
Radovan Krejcir’s urgent application to improve his “torturous” prison conditions has been postponed – to allow him to apply for a further postponement.
It’s an unusual situation, as the Czech fugitive has repeatedly claimed horrific prison conditions.
But yesterday he – while representing himself – revealed he simply did not have time to finish putting together his argument.
That was because he was unable to speak with his legal counsel because of repeated transfers between prisons, which allegedly arose out of claims that he had tried to escape from custody over the festive season, he claimed.
Krejcir is currently the epicentre of a series of criminal cases in SA, including charges of conspiracy to kill forensic consultant Paul O’Sullivan and high-ranking police officer Colonel Nkosana Ximba, and alleged involvement in the murder of suspected Bedfordview drug kingpin Sam Issa. He is also still wanted in the Czech Republic after being convicted in absentia for a series of criminal and civil cases in his home country.
Since his incarceration more than five years ago, the criminal trials against him have stalled.
In many of them, he has been forced to represent himself, allegedly because of a lack of finances, though he has had some legal assistance from attorney Jeff Mendelson.
However, since 2017, Krejcir has claimed his prison conditions have become increasingly worse. From lack of access to medication and psychiatric treatment, and “de facto solitary confinement”, to a lack of an orthopaedic mattress, Krejcir has repeatedly claimed he is being tortured, particularly when kept at Leeuwkop Prison in Gauteng.
In 2017, he succeeded in one application at the high court that awarded him some privileges, but he has claimed the department repeatedly broke the terms of this ruling.
The state and the department of correctional services (DCS) have repeatedly denied all of Krejcir’s claims, but that hasn’t stopped Krejcir from applying for another application.
The application has not only asked for an improvement of his prison conditions but also to hold key DCS officials and Minister Michael Masutha in contempt of court for failing to honour the initial ruling.
While it was initially launched in April last year, judge president Dustan Mlambo ruled it not urgent, and it stalled for months, though it was set to resume on Tuesday.
While Krejcir and state legal representative advocate Marumo Moerane have already submitted the bulk of their arguments to the court, both sides have asked for time to submit supplementary information, and the deadline was initially towards the end of January.
However, Krejcir on Monday, wearing his suit and leg irons, asked the Johannesburg High Court or further postponements, as he was not able to put together his response documents over the festive season as planned after being moved between prisons, allegedly due to a security breach.
Times Select reported in January how, in its responses to Krejcir’s application, the DCS revealed in a legal letter that another escape plan over December 2018 by the Czech had been foiled, which was part of the reason for his transfer to a Limpopo prison.
Krejcir has claimed that, because of the transfer, it became impossible to communicate with Mendelson in person, and that his attempts to put together the documents, or even hand them over for submission, were unsuccessful.
Moerane insisted the state was going to oppose that application for a further postponement and asked the court for an opportunity to put together its argument against the postponement application overnight.
Judge Avrille Maier-Frawley allowed the overnight delay. Therefore, the case was postponed to Wednesday to allow both sides to argue over a postponement, which may result in a further postponement.
However, if Moerane were to be successful, he and Krejcir would continue with the initial application, though it is unclear how long it would take for the judge to make her decision on whether Krejcir’s conditions warrant improving.
Regarding Krejcir’s alleged foiled plot over the festive season, Mendelson told Times Select in January that his client believed the repeated claims of escape attempts were part of an elaborate plot to keep him from securing better prison conditions.