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Hawks robbery accused in court

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Tlailane was a sex worker who had made the trip to Kimberley upon the request of one of her regular clients and carried no knowledge of the break-in

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THE SEX worker who has been implicated in a robbery at the provincial offices of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) in 2016, made a brief appearance in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

The accused, 31-year-old Maria Tlailane from Hammanskraal, will be back before Magistrate Danie Schreuder later this month after the case was postponed for further investigation.

She is facing several charges following an incident that saw a security guard coerced into consuming a spiked drink, allegedly by the accused, before thieves gained access to the office safe in Stockdale Street.

During her successful bail application in December, Tlailane claimed that she had been in Kimberley at the request of a client at the time of the incident, which apparently saw uncut diamonds, thousands of rands in cash and forensic cases being stolen from the Hawks’ Northern Cape offices in Stockdale Street in 2016.

Tlailane was subsequently arrested in Hammanskraal in early December but was released from custody following her previous appearance before Magistrate Schreuder.

Testifying in Tlailane’s bail application last year, the investigating officer (IO), Lieutenant-Colonel Dolf Louwrens, called for bail be denied, pointing out that there had been some difficulty in tracing and arresting the accused.

Regarding the robbery itself, Louwrens stated that on the evening of July 26, 2016 the accused had approached the security guard on duty, claiming to be a new employee at FNB.

He said that she offered the security guard a juice which had apparently been spiked, after forensic evidence indicated the presence of drugs in the guard’s bloodstream.

It was further alleged that once the laced drink had taken effect, additional suspects arrived on the scene and proceeded to gain forced entry to two walk-in safes before making off with evidence from other cases, including uncut diamonds valued at over R600 and a cash sum of nearly R140 000, as well as an additional undisclosed amount of cash.

However, Tlailane’s legal representative, advocate Johan Pretorius, argued that the mere fact that the Hawks were the complainant in the matter counted heavily against his client and had prejudiced the IO on the subject of whether bail should be granted.

Pretorius explained that Tlailane was a sex worker who had made the trip to Kimberley upon the request of one of her regular clients and carried no knowledge of the break-in.

Tlailane was granted bail of
R5 000 on condition that she reports to the Hammanskraal police station twice a week and is available for her court appearances.

She will return to the dock on March 16.