Judgment reserved in Richard Mdluli appeal

2014-04-01 16:36

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The Supreme Court of Appeal has reserved judgment in the appeal of suspended police crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

A full Supreme Court of Appeal bench heard argument today in an urgent appeal by Mdluli, the SA Police Service and the NPA against a high court decision that criminal charges and a disciplinary case should be reinstated against Mdluli.

William Mokhari, for the SAPS, argued the high court went too far when it made its order.

The appeal concerns a ruling in favour of lobby group Freedom Under Law to set aside an NPA decision to withdraw criminal and disciplinary charges against Mdluli.

On September 23 2013, Judge John Murphy found in Freedom Under Law’s favour and set aside the decisions to withdraw charges of fraud, money laundering, murder and disciplinary proceedings against Mdluli.

Mdluli, the NPA and the Specialised Commercial Crime Unit were granted leave to appeal against Murphy’s ruling.

Mokhari submitted that the high court order was of no real value because Mdluli was again suspended and charged by the SAPS, and the outcomes of these steps were still pending.

Replying to a question, Mokhari agreed the SAPS had not given reasons for the withdrawal of the initial charges against Mdluli.

He contended the matter between Mdluli and the SAPS was a labour issue and should not have gone to a high court.

Ike Motloung, for Mdluli, argued parties such as Freedom Under Law could not approach a high court without making submissions to other relevant institutions first.

He submitted Freedom Under Law’s approach was premature and the court should consider the effects of indiscriminate approaches to the high courts.

Lawrence Hodes, for the NPA, submitted not all internal procedures to convince the NPA to reinstate charges against Mdluli were followed. He argued any party wanting to reinstitute charges against anybody had to approach the NPA first.

“Any prosecutor in any court can decide to withdraw charges ... [on reinstatement] then in my submission there are certain procedures to be followed before a court can be approached.”

Counsel for Freedom Under Law, Seena Yacoob, submitted her client did not want to see the issues affecting Mdluli suffer undue delay.

In papers filed in the court, the organisation submitted that decisions by the SAPS and the NPA could not be above a review process in court, especially if the institutions did not do their work.

Nobody would then be able to question the NPA when it failed to do its job, as prescribed by the Constitution. Yacoob said Freedom Under Law did not want to see a Supreme Court of Appeal decision on the matter that would give the SAPS “unlimited time” to resolve the Mdluli issue.

Judge Kenneth Mthiyane and Judge Mahomed Navsa expressed concern about the allegations concerning the atmosphere within the SAPS’s security establishment.

“Everybody should be concerned,” said Navsa.

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