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S v Miller and Others (SS13/2012) [2015] ZAWCHC 118

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S v Miller and Others (SS13/2012) [2015] ZAWCHC 118

Photo by Reuters
Abalone

3rd September 2015

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[1] The eight accused are charged with a number of offences under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, 121 of 1998 (“POCA”) , and the Marine Living Resources Act,18 of 1998, the core of the State’s case being that they collectively ran an enterprise involving the unlawful processing, packaging and export of abalone .

[2] The accused were arrested over a period of 8 months in 2006 (February – October) along with several others. In October 2008 their trial commenced in this Division and at that stage there were some 18 accused before Erasmus J. A number of procedural objections were raised at the commencement of the hearing, all of which were unsuccessful (See S v Chao and others 2009(1) SACR 479 (C))

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[3] Certain of the accused then offered pleas of guilty in terms of section 112 of the Criminal Procedure Act, 51 of 1977 (“the CPA”) and were duly convicted and sentenced. Thereafter the trials were separated and the case continued in regard to the remainder of the accused. The matter was removed from the trial roll and sent back for pre-trial management. During this period certain of the accused skipped bail leading to further delays in the matter. Finalisation of the pre-trial procedures was also delayed while the parties awaited the outcome of the Constitutional Court decision in the case of Savoi and others v National Director of Public Prosecutions and others 2014(5) SA 317 (CC). That judgment, delivered on 20 March 2014, dealt extensively with the constitutionality of POCA.

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