Bernadette Wicks
Senior court reporter
2 minute read
30 Oct 2021
7:00 am

Thulsie twins in bail bid

Bernadette Wicks

The Tulsies have, approached the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

The Thulsie twins, Tony-Lee and Brandon-Lee, at the Johannesburg High Court, 27 January 2021. They are facing charges of terrorism and have been in custody since they were arrested in July 2016. Picture: Neil McCartney

The terror-accused Thulsie twins are hoping to make yet another bid for bail.

After initially having abandoned bail following their arrests in 2016, the now 28 year olds – who have been in custody awaiting their trial since – launched a new application last year at the High Court in Johannesburg.

But charged with a raft of serious crimes – including planning to carry out terror attacks on home soil – they had to show there were exceptional circumstances warranting their release.

And Judge Ramarumo Monama ultimately found they had failed to do so. However, on Friday, when their case came before Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng – who presided over it – their attorney Nadeem Mahomed indicated they wanted to bring a fresh application on new facts.

This year, the Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie also launched an application to have their case struck off the roll due to what their legal team described as an “irregularity” in the way it had been transferred from the regional court to the high court.

That application, too, wound up being dismissed by the high court, with Mokgoatlheng finding, even if there had been an irregularity – which he maintained there had not been – it would not be in the interests of justice to strike the matter from the roll.

The Thulsies have, however, since approached the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in a bid to overturn that decision.

In April, Mokgoatlheng ordered that neither the state nor the defence could make any further applications, including for bail, until the SCA had finalised the matter, which it still has not.

Mahomed yesterday said he had to put on record, though, that “never in the constitutional dispensation of this country has an accused ever been denied his right to bail”.

In his response, Mokgoatlheng said, according to the defence, the high court didn’t have jurisdiction over the matter. “I’m quoting you,” the judge insisted.

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“You can’t attack the integrity and status of the court and say this court does not have jurisdiction and, thereafter, come and say I want to bring an application to the very court which does not have jurisdiction.”

Mahomed countered, arguing the attack “was not on the status or credibility” of the court.

“It was purely the procedure followed by the state in having the matter brought before the high court,” said Mahomed.

He said bail was “paramount and at the forefront of the rights of the accused” – arguing further that it was “imperative that this matter comes before the court”.

Ultimately, Mokgoatlheng said the defence could approach Monama on the issue – which they agreed to. The case was adjourned to early next year.

Police swooped on Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee in Newclare and Azaadville in July 2016 – reportedly after one of the brothers disclosed their alleged plans to carry out terror attacks in South Africa to an undercover FBI agent from the US.

bernadettew@citizen.co.za