New drama in Singh case

2008-10-13 00:00

Pietermaritzburg magistrate Ashin Singh, who is suing the state for R2,8 million over his failed prosecution between 2000 and 2003, yesterday brought an application to have the opposing attorney, Petrus Coetzee, and senior counsel Chris Marnewick removed from the matter.

Singh submitted to Judge Sharmaine Balton that the two men are “not fit and proper” to act on behalf of the minister of Justice, for various reasons.

However, Judge Balton ruled that she does not have jurisdiction to decide this, and suggested to Singh that he pursue his complaints through the KZN Law Society and Bar Council.

After hearing lengthy argument from both sides, the judge said she is not satisfied Singh’s application was properly brought before the courtbecause prior notice should have been given and papers properly served on the opposing parties.

She said that if the case were to be postponed again it would be for the third time. It is currently set down for hearing over seven days and the cost implications run in to “hundreds of thousands of rands”, the judge said.

Her ruling does not prevent Singh from bringing complaints to the attention of the Law Society or the Bar Council, she said.

The case took another twist with the revelation that Singh’s attorney, Naren Sangham, advised him against bringing yesterday’s application and resulted in Sangham withdrawing as Singh’s attorney.

Sangham told the judge he advised Singh that the application was “not sound in law”, and said Singh undertook not to continue with it, and then yesterday morning surprised him by insisting on pursuing it.

Sangham was given leave to withdraw and Singh is to represent himself.

Singh was arrested and prosecuted in 2000 on multiple charges after being dismissed from the Investigative Directorate, Organised Crime.

In 2003 Singh won a permanent stay of prosecution.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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