Judgment expected in Motata trial

2009-09-02 10:34

JUDGMENT is expected today in the drunken driving case of High

Court Judge Nkola Motata.

The case, which has spanned more than two years, relates to an

incident in January 2007 when Motata crashed his Jaguar into the perimeter wall

of a property in Hurlingham, north of Johannesburg, allegedly while drunk.

He faces a charge of drunken driving or an alternative charge of

reckless and negligent driving in the Johannesburg Magistrates’ Court.

Motata was acquitted in June of an alternative charge of driving

with an excessive amount of alcohol in the blood.

He also faces a charge of defeating or obstructing the ends of

justice or an alternative charge of resisting arrest.

During closing arguments in July this year, defence lawyer

Bantubonke Tokoto said that relying on witness Richard Baird’s testimony was

“too dangerous” as he was a complainant and not an independent witness.

Baird made audio recordings at the scene of Motata’s accident which

were handed in to the court.

Tokoto said the audio recordings were selective and could have been

manipulated.

“We insist Baird was biased,” said Tokoto.

However, prosecutor Zaais van Zyl said the evidence by Baird was

reliable proof which showed Motata’s slurred speech as indicative of being

intoxicated.

He also said Motata smelt of alcohol and was aggressive in refusing

arrest.

“He held onto the steering wheel with both hands, refusing to be

arrested, He even put his foot at the door... and fell when he was lifted out of

the vehicle. He was definitely not cooperative.”

The case, presided over by Magistrate Desmond Nair, has been marked

by several delays as well as a trial-within-a-trial to determine the

admissibility of the audio recording.

It was later ruled the recordings were admissible. In addition,

Motata twice changed his legal team.


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