German kidnap suspects go to high court

January 22, 2004

CAPE TOWN — Two German immigrants, who last year allegedly kidnapped the teenage son of a wealthy Table View couple, are to go on trial in the Cape High Court.

However, the Directorate for Public Prosecutions had not yet furnished either an indictment, or a date of trial, said senior prosecutor Fiona Cloete. Nor had the two yet been asked to plead.

Michael George Peter Brandl, 50, and his former partner Marcus Multhhaler, 36, have been in custody since their arrest in August last year. They were represented by attorney Keith Gess, who lamented the delay.

He said the investigation had been completed in November last year, and that it "escaped the understanding of a normal person" why the DPP was not yet able to provide the indictment and date of trial.

He gave the court notice that he would "take appropriate steps" if the information was not yet available at the next hearing, on February 24.

Brandl and Muhlthhaler faced charges of kidnapping, attempted extortion and the illegal possession of a semi-automatic firearm, DPP Specialist prosecutor Shireen Riley told an earlier court hearing.

They are alleged to have kidnapped the teenage son of Dutch couple Richard and Myriam Weggelaar in August last year. The boy was kidnapped while he was walking the family dogs on Sunset Beach in Milnerton, near the family's luxury house. The kidnappers allegedly demanded a R5-million ransom from the Weggelaars. After both men were remanded, Brandl appeared before the same court alone, to be remanded on fraud charges relating to his alleged illegal entry into the country.

The fraud case was also postponed to February 24. On the first fraud charge, he allegedly pretended to be Edward Thomas Watts, in order to obtain a South African passport and travel document.

Watts at the time was the common law husband of Luelle Naidoo, with whom Brandl allegedly contracted an illegal marriage of convenience to remain in the country.

On the second charge Brandl allegedly used Watts's name to obtain a South African identity document for himself.

A third charge concerns the alleged fraudulent marriage.

It is alleged he applied to the Department of Home Affairs for temporary residence and a work permit, as Naidoo's accompanying spouse, whilst involved in a gay relationship with Multhhaler.

At his bail hearing, Brandl told the court that Multhhaler had broken off their relationship. –Sapa

Gay German national in court twice in one day [15/01/2004]


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