Patel ‘humiliated’

2014-12-12 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal judge president, Chiman Patel, was “humiliated” by the state’s attempt to prosecute him.

Patel — who will be leaving office at month end — was accused of insulting clerk Lindiwe Nxele, allegedly calling her “nonsense, trash, rubbish and useless person” in October 2013. Nxele laid a charge of crimen injuria.

Patel’s lead advocate, Marumo Moerane, placed on record his “disgust and condemnation” of the NPA for pursuing the charges at “taxpayers’ expense” and that there was an “improper motive to humiliate” Patel and treat him like a “common criminal”.

He told the court that the prosecution was a “humiliating experience for the judge president”.

“We are happy wiser counsel has prevailed and a decision has been taken to bring an end to this travesty of justice.”

The state withdrew the charge yesterday at the Durban Regional Court.

Providing counsel alongside advocate Pingla Hemraj — at no charge to Patel “to not waste taxpayers’ money” — Moerane said this was “not the last time we will hear of his matter”.

“Even on a cursory glance by anyone with little knowledge of the law, on the facts there was never any case.”

Patel had insisted on taking the matter to trial to prove his innocence.

The trial was expected to begin yesterday, but the KZN office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) reconsidered.

Patel has consistently denied verbally abusing Nxele.

“If they had a case, even the judge president should be held accountable by the law, [but] there was no evidence.

“I would have liked to have seen my accuser in the dock. The state never had a case to begin with,” said Patel.

Leaving his office in December, the 67-year old said he initially expected to leave in August as he had reached the required age.

“My reason for leaving is I have served the required years. I will still be on active service to be called upon until I am 75 years old,” said Patel.

NPA spokesperson Nathi Mncube said the charges were dropped as there “were no prospects of a successful prosecution”.

“After a thorough consultation with the witnesses for the state, it became clear … and a decision to withdraw the matter was accordingly made.”

He said the KZN DPP would not be instructed to apologise to Patel.

“The [initial] decision [to prosecute] was based on the statements contained in the docket,” said Mncube.


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