Krejcir media hearing underway

The session focused on arguments made on behalf of the media houses, Radovan Krejcir’s lawyer said.

Czech businessman Radovan Krejcir speaks to reporters outside the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on 16 April 2012, after fraud charges against him were provisionally withdrawn. Picture: Sapa

PRETORIA - Lawyers representing several media houses on Thursday said allegations of criminality swirling around Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir is part of the reason why his deportation hearing should be held in public.

Various media organisations approached the North Gauteng High Court to apply for permission to obtain access to the hearing.

Krejcir is fighting for refugee status.

In October, armed robbery charges against him were dropped and in an earlier case, Krejcir managed to escape insurance fraud charges.

His lawyer, Dario Milo, said the morning session focused on arguments made on behalf of the media houses.

"The alleged crime that Mr Krejcir is reportedly linked to in South Africa and his alleged links to organised crime in the country have been debated in the public domain," said Milo.

Media houses said the Refugee Appeal Board had the discretion to allow access.

Lawyers added that if the board refused them entry it would be unlawful.

Krejcir's defence and the state argued against this, saying refugees are a vulnerable group of people.