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Boeremag trial postponed for application on police file

15th November 2003

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The Boeremag treason trial was postponed in the Pretoria High Court yesterday for arguments in a defence application for access to a police informer's file.

The application is to be argued before Judge Eben Jordaan on Monday.

He postponed the case for the police to brief legal counsel over the weekend.

The State indicated that the SA Police Service intended joining the matter as an opposing party.

A lawyer for the police was at court yesterday, but defence counsel objected when it turned out he was the same man who represented a 23rd Boeremag co-accused, Dawie Oosthuizen, who pleaded guilty earlier this year.

On Thursday, defence lawyers brought an application for access to a file containing information collected about their clients by police informer Johannes Coenraad Smit.

The State objected, saying the dossier was privileged.

Smit earlier testified that his written statement, on which the State's case was largely based, was compiled from bits of information he collected during a nearly year-long undercover operation in 2001 and 2002.

That information was kept in a special file by his handler, Superintendent Louis Pretorius.

But defence advocate Harry Prinsloo claimed that Smit's oral evidence differed from his written statement.

Smit admitted that some of the information he collected was left out of the final statement because it was not regarded as relevant.

At this, Prinsloo argued that the defence needed access to the original information in the file to check the facts.

The defence believed the file might contain information that was beneficial to their clients.

Other defence lawyers supported the application.

Jordaan ordered on Thursday that the file be found, sealed, and brought to the court for safe-keeping pending the outcome of the application.

Twenty-two alleged Boeremag members are standing trial on 42 charges including murder, attempted murder, treason, terrorism, sabotage, and arms and explosives violations.

Smit, a former Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging member, was the first State witness to testify.

He told the court last week how the Boeremag planned to "chase" all blacks and Indians out of the country, blow up power stations, take over defence force bases and eliminate "enemies" of the Boers. – Sapa.
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