Frederiksen to spend Christmas behind bars

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Peter Frederiksen, the Danish national accused of sexual assault among others, will spend his first Christmas in Grootvlei Prison outside Bloemfontein.
He faces a string of charges and was denied bail by Magistrate Marlene Marais in the city's court last Friday, after his lawyer could not convince her that his client should be granted bail. In order for the state to complete its investigation, his next appearance will be on 13 January 2016.
Frederiksen was arrested on 17 September, after his late wife, Anna Matseliso Molise, had reported him to police.
Upon his arrest, the genital parts of at least seven women were found in the freezer of his Langenhoven Park home, where he had been residing for the past seven years.
Molise allegedly also tried to report him to the police in February this year, but she was turned away due to a lack of evidence. She was offered witness protection and went back to her native Lesotho, where she was gunned down last month. Frederiksen is now linked to her death, as the state believes he had conspired to have her murdered.
Meanwhile, the court heard during Frederiksen's formal bail application that two female witnesses have been placed in the witness protection programme, as they now fear for their lives. Testament to this, is the large number of heavily armed police officers present during every appearance.
Marais said in her judgement there's a public outcry and Frederiksen's life has been threatened by members of the public. He is most probably more safe inside prison than outside.
While Frederiksen's lawyer, Thama Lithabe, argued that his client has family ties in South Africa, the court could not find any family that he could reside with, as he owns no property in the country, thus making him a flight risk.
He has two minor children (from his marriage to Anna Matseliso Molise ) who are in the care of the state. One has South African citizenship and one has Lesotho citizenship.
In as far as Frederiksen's argument that his businesses need his attention, the court found that with his Bloemfontein business's turnover averaging around R100 000 and his Lesotho business around R400 000 to R500 000 a month, there's no need for him to be granted bail as the people in his employ are taking care of his businesses.
In an unprecedented move, before judgement was passed on Friday (ahead of the start of the proceedings), Frederiksen's lawyer, Lithabe, asked to speak to the magistrate and the state in chambers. It later emerged that he had not been paid. An armed policemen escorted Frederiksen to the bank where he withdrew money to pay Lithabe. It was the closest he came to being free since his September arrest.
Frederiksen had earlier fired his lawyer Adriaan van Rensburg. Lithabe seemed to be making use of delaying tactics at times, but as it stands, Frederiksens's argumentative attitude was enough for him to have his bail application denied anyway.
During cross examination by the state, the accused refused to answer questions put to him and would not answer whether what he had told two Danish journalists in a programme aired earlier, was the truth or not. In the programme he revealed that he had bribed a judge with R3500 in Lesotho to make a case against him "go away". He said it was merely a story.
Frederiksen said he intends to plead not guilty on all the charges, but it will be difficult as evidence against him is stacking up and his lawyer, for some strange reason, does not seem to have a firm grasp of the charges against him.
When the state called its first witness, the court learnt that Frederiksen is in the country unlawfully and that he has two Danish passports indicating different places of birth. His Lesotho passport indicates that he is Mosotho. – Owen Kock
owen@centralmediagroup.co.za