KZN court mayhem leaves two advocates in hospital
Suthentira Govender | 2017-01-25 14:55:37.0
Mayhem erupted at the Scottsburgh Magistrate’s Court after the trial of 26 people alleged to be responsible for copper theft was adjourned. Photo file.
Image by: Gallo Images/Thinkstock
Two senior state advocates are recovering in hospital after they were allegedly 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 the KwaZulu-Natal south coast – on Monday after the trial of 26 people alleged to be responsible for copper theft was adjourned.
They stand accused of being involved in the theft of copper cables and conductors from Transnet and Eskom in KZN. It is alleged that in one incident of copper theft in July 2012‚ a train derailed in the Howick area‚ which resulted in R57-million in damages and impacted on more than 1‚000 businesses in the area.
They were nabbed in two dramatic busts during Operation Nuclear‚ conducted 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 and have been hospitalised.
Assault charges have been opened at the Scottsburgh police station.
– TMG Digital/The Times