‘Drunk judge will be back at work soon’

2009-09-09 11:46

Pretoria High Court Judge Nkola Motata will shortly be back at

work, his lawyer said during sentencing procedures in his drunken driving case

in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court today.

“He will be back on duty once this case is finalised,” defence

counsel Bantubonke Tokota said during arguments in mitigation of sentence.

State prosecutor Zaais van Zyl asked for Motata’s sentence to be a

“moderate” fine of about R10?000, part of which could be suspended.

“The sentence must be something that hurts, something that

reminds.”

He also raised the possibility of suspending Motata’s driving

licence.

“The seriousness of the offence really goes without saying,” he

said.

Motata was last week found guilty of drunken driving. He crashed

his vehicle into the perimeter wall of a property in Hurlingham, Johannesburg,

while drunk in January 2007.

Tokota asked for a “wholly” suspended sentence saying Motata had

money woes which left him “in a position” where he could not afford to pay a

fine.

“It’s very difficult for him to pay if he gets a fine.”

He said legal fees which already amounted to close to R1?million

was Motata’s fine. “He’s gone through that heavy fine, legal fees were

enormous.”

If a fine was given, Tokota asked for the fine to be

deferred.

Questioned by the judge, Tokota said Motata did not have to pay for

repairs to his Jaguar S series which he crashed in the incident.

He said while Motata had not worked during the trial, he had been

remunerated.

Tokota said judges like Motata earned very low salaries.

“The salary that he earned... is very low. I don’t even consider

going to the bench.

“I earn more than 10 times what they earn,” said Tokota.

“Maybe I should come over to your side,” quipped magistrate Desmond

Nair.

Court was adjourned for sentencing which will begin at 1pm.


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