Lawyers’ tiff ‘may affect man’s trial’

2008-07-23 00:00

A south coast traffic officer charged with accepting a bribe has approached the Pietermaritzburg High Court over fears that he won’t get a fair trial.

According to court papers, his fears are based on the fact that his advocate told him he does not have a “good relationship” with Wynand Bezuidenhout, the acting regional magistrate (sitting at Turton near Port Shepstone) assigned to his trial.

Bezuidenhout was allegedly involved in a “personal attack” on the advocate and his wife during a social gathering 13 years ago.

At the time, both men were working as district magistrates.

It is alleged that during the function in 1996, Bezuidenhout referred to the advocate’s wife as a “stuck up b**ch”, and said she and her husband thought they were “better” than he and his wife.

A “heated argument with the threat of physical violence” then developed.

Since then, the two men have not communicated with each other.

Port Shepstone traffic officer Arther Warner says in court papers that after his advocate, who is from Durban, told him about the incident, he instructed him to apply for Bezuidenhout’s recusal.

He says that the state advocate heading the prosecution, Mahendra Naidu, “sympathised” with his predicament and did not oppose the application.

However, Bezuidenhout declined to recuse himself, saying he did not “believe he would be biased”.

According to Warner’s affidavit, Bezuidenhout was first approached in chambers to avoid the details of the alleged incident being made public, but he insisted on a formal application being heard in open court.

Warner alleged there was “no doubt” that Bezuidenhout was annoyed about the application for his recusal.

He said Bezuidenhout did not deny any of the facts stated by Warner’s advocate, that the event in question occurred or that Bezuidenhout behaved in the manner alleged.

Warner denies the charge of bribery against him.

Warner said he was one of eight traffic officers from the Road Traffic Inspectorate to be arrested on similar charges. Each of the officers are being tried separately, but his case is regarded as a “test” case.

The case was adjourned until August 19 by Judge Anton van Zyl.

ingrido@witness.co.za

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.