Radovan  Krejcir outside court in April 2012. Picture: THE TIMES
Radovan Krejcir outside court in April 2012. Picture: THE TIMES

CONVICTED Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir and businessman Desai Lupondo were on Tuesday sentenced to a combined 110 years in prison, with some sentences running concurrently. This means they will each spend an effective 35 years in jail.

Their other co-accused will each serve 15 years in prison, after parts of their respective sentences were also ordered to run concurrently.

Lawyers for the five co-accused immediately noted their intentions to file for leave to appeal, or for bail.

In August‚ Judge Colin Lamont convicted Krejcir and Lupondo‚ taxi boss Siboniso Miya and former Hawks Warrant Officers Samuel "Saddam" Maruping‚ Jeff Nthoroane and Lefu Jan Mofokeng of crimes including kidnapping and attempted murder relating to a botched drug deal.

When reading out the judgment, Judge Lamont said he would consider the time the accused had already spent in prison when sentencing them.

He said the drug charge — intent to export 25kg of tik to Australia — was the most serious. Krejcir and the accused number two each received 25 years for the count.

They each received 15 years for kidnapping and attempted murder, respectively.

The other accused‚ who include three former Hawks warrant officers‚ were sentenced for kidnapping and attempted murder.

"They are employed by society to prevent crime; these are the very people who abuse the trust the society has placed in them and the tools it has given them to combat crime."

Judge Lamont said while evidence that the drugs belonged to Krejcir was inadmissible in court‚ he was nonetheless found to have planned to deal in drugs that were found in possession of one of his co-accused. Evidence proved that he was the mastermind behind the scheme.

"I am required to consider the interests of society when meting out a sentence; the society of the country in which the crime was committed or other societies that might be affected by the crime‚" the judge told the court.

"The (court) needs to assess the multinational effect of the crime. This should be achieved by considering not only the local society but others that are affected. The Australians deserve to be comfortable that the court will take appropriate action to ensure their safety."

Judge Lamont said it was difficult to rehabilitate a person who did not want to accept that he had committed a crime.

The period of long imprisonment will give them an opportunity to change and be rehabilitated, the judge said.

TMG Digital