Alleged cable theft syndicate leaves advocates bleeding after attack in court
Suthentira Govender | 2017-01-26 07:14:37.0
Gavel. File photo.
Image by: Times Media Group
Two senior state advocates are recovering in hospital after they were attacked in a local court by more than two dozen people believed to be linked to a major cable theft syndicate.
Mayhem erupted at the Scottsburgh Magistrate’s Court on Monday after the trial of 26 people alleged to be responsible for copper theft was adjourned.
The suspects stand accused of stealing copper cables and conductors from Transnet and Eskom in KwaZulu-Natal.
It is alleged that in one incident in July 2012, a train was derailed near Howick , which resulted in R57-million in damages .
The 26 were nabbed in two dramatic busts during Operation Nuclear in 2012 and 2013.
It is unclear at this stage what sparked Monday’s court attack.
According to a National Prosecuting Authority source, who cannot be named, some of the accused picked up chairs and flung them at the two advocates.
“We understand that the two advocates have received threats prior to this incident,” the source said.
Members of the defence team apparently fled the court, leaving the two women – who are part of the Organised Crime Unit – to fend for themselves.
It is understood that a court interpreter had to help defend the injured women.
They both suffered injuries.
Assault charges have been laid at the Scottsburgh police station.