Fidentia’s Brown fit to stand trial

October 17, 2008

Fidentia’s Brown fit to stand trial

13 October 2008, 20:16

The Cape Regional Court ruled on Monday that former Fidentia boss J Arthur Brown is fit to stand trial, the SABC reported.

Magistrate Jasthree Steyn dismissed a second application by the National Prosecuting Authority to send Brown for mental observation, saying the state and a private psychiatrist had declared him fit to stand trial.

The application has delayed Brown’s bail application on charges of theft, fraud and money-laundering, charges involving an amount of about R700 000.

Last Thursday, Steyn – who is hearing Brown’s bid for bail – rejected a similar bid to send him for 30 days of mental observation, saying it would not be in the interests of justice.

After Thursday’s ruling was made, the court heard testimony from Brown’s psychiatrist, Dr Pieter Cilliers, that Brown suffered from a bipolar disorder which was in partial remission.

When the court reconvened on Friday, prosecutor Bruce Morrison told Steyn he was making the new bid for observation on the basis of Cilliers’ evidence.

Morrison said at the time there had been inordinate delays in bringing to trial the string of cases Brown was involved in.

The State wanted legal certainty, so it would not be in a “rollercoaster situation” where Brown was fine one moment and unable to stand trial the next.

At the time Brown’s attorney, Rashad Kahn, said Morrison’s application was a malicious and destructive attempt to prevent Brown from getting bail.

He said Brown needed to be released on bail so he could prepare properly for his first trial in November.

Brown was on R1-million bail in the embezzlement case involving Fidentia and the Transport, Education and Training Authority (Teta), and on R5 000 bail in an embezzlement case involving the investment concerns Fundi and Infinity, when he was re-arrested in May this year in connection with another embezzlement case involving the Antheru Trust.

Brown’s legal team claimed less than a week after the arrest that he had been raped in the back of a vehicle ferrying prisoners from the courts, a claim which has been treated with scepticism by prosecutors.

Last week Cilliers said based on medical evidence and his own repeated interviews with Brown, he was convinced Brown had indeed been raped.

At the time Cilliers said Brown’s condition was now was one of major depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, in partial remission, with underlying bipolar mood disorder.

He said Brown was “bipolar two”, which meant his “up” swing was not manic but hypomanic, a mild form of mania.

This was characterised by lots of energy, “grandiosity”, and spending money freely.

During his testimony last week, the psychiatrist said he had been told by a Fidentia colleague of Brown’s that Brown would embark on a grand plan, involving all his staff, then get very depressed, and would stay in bed and not go to the office. – Sapa

CAPE ARGUS 13th October 2008

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