It is the high-profile court case that did not get its own 24-hour television channel and does not trend on Twitter. (video)
But the criminal trial of Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir has been riddled with antics and characters that deserve to be on prime-time television.
Since the trial started in the Johannesburg High Court in May, the lighter moments - which you will probably not read about in the daily papers - include the alleged Mafioso's quips about Paralympian murder-accused Oscar Pistorius, the air kisses he shares with his wife, and the inspirational Obama-meets-Oprah speeches his lawyer frequently gives him.
Krejcir, together with three Hawks officers and two others, is accused of attempted murder and kidnapping after they allegedly tortured an East Rand businessman. They have pleaded not guilty to all the charges, which include drug dealing.
This week, after a temporary lull, there was some of the action that South Africans might expect from the trial of their most famous underworld figure.
In the sights
With a suspected drive-by shooting aimed at Judge Colin Lamont, who is hearing the case, and the discovery that Krejcir had been given access to a large knife, security was in the spotlight.
With the threat of danger in the air, prosecutor Louis Mashiane has been taking no chances. As he enters court each day, two burly bodyguards, with earpieces, sunglasses, and trench coats, accompany him.
But Mashiane's biggest threat may not be physical - it may be Krejcir's feisty lawyer, Annelene van den Heever.
Delivering a blow to the state's case, she recently had a state witness reveal that he had never implicated Krejcir in any crime; instead, he said, the investigating officer had inserted Krejcir's name into his statement.
Van den Heever has proven to be a source of inspiration and trouble for the Czech fugitive.
Cake with an edge
Her team's morning ritual starts with the downing of energy drinks, followed by a motivational "Yes, we can" speech about the defence's "watertight" case and how the state's evidence will crumble when she starts her cross-examination.
This week, Van den Heever wreaked havoc when she brought a cake to court to celebrate her birthday.
Sharing her seemingly innocuous red-velvet cake with Krejcir turned into an embarrassing mistake when a large knife was discovered inside the cake box, resulting in her being chastised by Lamont.
This was not the first time food had interrupted the trial. At one point Krejcir refused to return to court after the lunch break because guards had failed to deliver the food his wife Katerina Krejcirova had brought for him.
After the judge intervened, Krejcir, who is diabetic, relaxed as he munched on his sandwich and chocolate bar.
This incident marked the first time Krejcirova, who has never missed a day of the trial, was seen to lose her composure.
As Krejcir makes his way to the dock each day, he immediately looks for Krejcirova and their 23-year-old son before blowing them air kisses.
On the rare occasion when Krejcirova is late, Krejcir must suffer mild whiplash from the number of times he looks back to see if she has arrived.
When court adjourns for the day, in their few private moments they spend together Krejcirova hands Krejcir a box of Tic-Tacs and they kiss and whisper to each other in Czech.
'I want to see you'
In these tender moments, it is easy to forget that Krejcir is accused of torturing a man whose brother allegedly ran off with his drugs.
Journalists have been warned by Krejcir, in his thick Eastern European accent, to ensure that they get their facts right.
"Hello, do you know who I am? I am Radovan Krejcir and I want to see you," Krejcir said in a phone call from court to an SABC journalist whose reporting, in his view, was "not objective".
Krejcir also appears to be hurt that his trial has not attracted as much attention as that of Pistorius. "Why my trial not live on the TV, like Oscar?" he asks journalists, followed by a joke about Pistorius, who stands accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
"You know why Oscar shoot model girlfriend? Because she buys him socks for Valentine's Day," he laughs.
In the dock with him are Sandton businessman Desai Lupondo, taxi boss Siboniso Miya, and Hawks officers Samuel "Saddam" Maruping, Jeff Nthoroane and Jan Mofokeng.
Source: Sunday Times
, via I-Net Bridge
Posted on 4 Aug 2014 15:20