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Motata: 'Too much evidence'

2009-06-01 13:14

Johannesburg - There is too much evidence against Judge Nkola Motata in his drunken driving trial for the court to discharge the case, a State prosecutor said on Monday.

"The evidence before this court... is it something that should be answered for? Yes, it is," Zaais van Zyl told the High Court in Johannesburg.

He was presenting the State's argument against a discharge application brought by the defence.

Van Zyl said the court could not dismiss the evidence it had been presented with. This included a note Motata wrote shortly after the accident, which had several grammar and spelling mistakes.

"It's quality is a reflection of his level of intoxication."

He also said it was clear that Motata had fallen down when he was pulled from his vehicle.

"The point is that he fell."

Cellphone recordings


Van Zyl also referred to cellphone recordings made of Motata at the scene of the accident which were presented in court to prove he was intoxicated.

"Not a word in the recording has been challenged [by the defence]," said Van Zyl.

In a case that has been dragging on since 2007, Magistrate Desmond Nair had postponed the matter in April to give the State time to prepare its arguments against a discharge application.

Motata's lawyer, Bantubonke Tokoto, told the court at the last hearing that the State's evidence was weak.

Motata, 60, crashed his Jaguar into the perimeter wall of Richard Baird's house in Hurlingham, Johannesburg in 2007, allegedly while drunk.

Tokoto said that for witnesses to smell liquor on someone was not sufficient evidence to indicate drunkenness.

The Johannesburg Magistrate's Court heard last year that the concentration of alcohol in Motata's blood was 0.2g per 100ml at the time of the accident. The legal limit is 0.05g per 100ml.

But Danie Dorfling, who was Motata's lawyer at that time, told the court that the Johannesburg forensic laboratory procedures had been erroneous, and that they could have negatively affected the outcome of the assessment of his client's blood.

Racist

Tokoto, at the last hearing, accused Baird of being racist and questioned his credibility.

"He was a dishonest witness... and made disturbing racist remarks. He saw a black judge and called him a drunken kaffir, it's a criminal offence to say that... he humiliated him.

"He also didn't want to be exposed in the media as a racist," Tokoto said, referring to Baird's initially not wanting to appear in court.

Tokoto said five cellphone recordings Baird took of Motata that night could have been manipulated.

The trial had been delayed several times, partly because Motata twice changed his legal team.

Nair said that final judgement on the matter would be heard on June 25 or 26.

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