Lawyer will lay complaint against ‘how dare you’ judge

2013-10-25 17:54

Senior counsel William Mokhari on Friday vowed to lay a complaint of misconduct against Judge John Murphy after they clashed in the High Court in Pretoria.

Mokhari said he would approach the Judicial Conduct Committee about Murphy’s conduct in court and also in his chambers.

“I will make further comment when I have filed the complaint early next week,” he said.

The two clashed yesterday during argument on whether former police crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli should return to work.

Murphy was hearing an application by the SA Police Service (SAPS) and the National Director of Public Prosecutions for leave to appeal against an earlier ruling in favour of lobby group Freedom Under Law (FUL).

The ruling set aside a decision to reinstate Mdluli and withdraw criminal and disciplinary charges against him.

FUL did not oppose the application for leave to appeal, provided that the judge ordered that Mdluli not be reinstated pending the outcome of the appeal.

Mokhari, for the SAPS, argued that the proviso amounted to an application, which meant FUL did not follow court process.

Such an application needed to be filed correctly with the court, he said.

“I have never heard of an application, which is a substantial application like this ... where a judge is already chosen,” Mokhari said.

“This is an application which relates not to the order which has been granted by your lordship. It is an application which relates to an order granted by your brother [Judge Makhoba in 2012].”

Murphy asked if the national police commissioner was opposed to the interdict being kept in place.

“Does the commissioner want General Mdluli to go back to work?” Murphy asked.

Mokhari replied: “That is presumptuous and I will not respond to the question.”

Murphy then asked: “How dare you say that to me Mr Mokhari? You are obliged to respond to me.”

Mokhari said: “It is presumptuous because it puts the carts before the horses. It will be improper for me to respond to that question.”

Murphy told Mokhari to “take a seat” and that he did not wish to hear him anymore. Mokhari refused. Murphy adjourned the court.

About an hour later, Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba came in and postponed the matter indefinitely.

Mdluli was suspended amid charges of fraud and corruption, and charges relating to the murder of his ex-lover’s husband. An inquest cleared him of any involvement in the murder. The charges of fraud and corruption were also later withdrawn.

He was reinstated, but was again suspended in 2012, pending the court application to review the withdrawal of the criminal and disciplinary charges against him.

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