The case against a Joburg family said to have run South Africa’s biggest dagga cartel is due to make a spectacular return to the courts.
Patrick Brass, 64, and his 10 co- accused that include his ex-wife Vanessa, three sons, Jared, Wade and Justin, and six others, secured a stay of prosecution in August 2018.
This victory obtained before Judge Joseph Raulinga at the high court in Pretoria was linked to the Gareth Prince application at the Constitutional Court, a matter that was also joined by the so-called dagga couple, Julian Christopher Stobbs and Cathleen Clark.
The Brass family and co-accused successfully argued that prosecuting them while a case concerning legality of dagga use was still pending at the highest court was prejudicial.
But the landmark victory scored by Gareth Prince, a Rastafarian lawyer, in September 2018 was not enough to save the Brass family and their co- accused from prosecution.
The Concourt’s ruling in the Prince matter legalised smoking of dagga and cultivating of dagga in one’s home. It did not legalise large-scale cultivating and trading of dagga.
Following the Prince ruling, the National Prosecuting Authority pushed for reinstatement of the charges against the Brass family, Jacobs Swanepoel, Tiago Tereira, Jesse Roque, Donovan Angel, David Thompson, Jacobus Strauss and Simango Vilakazi. They faced charges of dealing in drugs, racketeering and money laundering.
Mathews Toachem Sadik and Abel Joakin Sadik, apparently employed to cultivate the dagga, entered a plea deal with the State. They were sentenced to 10 years’ prison, wholly suspended for five years.
The Sadiks were deported to their home country, Malawi.
The trial is set to begin on June 19 in the high court in Joburg. Bail was reinstated.
By Bongani Nkosi