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German fugitive accused accused of Table View kidnapping denied bail

September 15, 2003

CAPE TOWN — German fugitive Michael George Brandl, in custody for the alleged kidnapping of the teenage son of a wealthy Dutch family from Table View, was refused bail late on Friday in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court.

Brandl was adamant on Friday he knew nothing about the alleged kidnapping involving the son of Richard and Myriam Weggelaar.

"I have nothing to do with it – I'm not involved, and I was completely surprised when I was arrested," he said.

Brandle told the court he and his co-accused, Marcus Muhlthhaler, 36, were gay and had lived together in a sexual relationship, but that Muhlthhaler had broken the relationship and moved to Sea Point.

He also said he was in the shower when police burst into his Table View home and that he had been naked when arrested.

Brandl was adamant he would stand trial, as he was innocent and wanted to clear his name while Multhhaler, although he was in the dock with Brandl, did not apply for bail.

Specialist prosecutor Shireen Riley of the Western Cape Directorate for Public Prosecutions, told the court Brandl and Muhlthhaler faced charges of kidnapping, attempted extortion and the illegal possession of a semi-automatic firearm.

On the latter charge alone, if convicted, Brandl faced 15 years in jail, she said.

Winter said outstanding German warrants for Brandl's arrest on fraud charges were "cause for concern, to say the least", and that the warrants left the suspicion that he was a fugitive from justice in Germany.

Winter said he had to weigh the interests of justice against Brandl's right to freedom, and the little information the court had made it difficult to decide whether he was in fact a flight risk.

Normally, the uncertainty about this would entitle him to the benefit of the doubt, but the circumstances of the case did not justify this, Winter said.

Winter said the court also had to consider the interests of the teenage victim and his parents, and the fact that kidnapping was a horrible offence that evoked high emotions in the community.

He said this tipped the scales against releasing Brandl on bail, which meant the court had to refuse his application.

Both men were remanded to September 19. –Sapa

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German fugitive accused accused of Table View kidnapping denied bail



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