Breytenbach: Lawyer's influence questioned

2012-08-15 17:52
Glynnis Breytenbach (Beeld)

Glynnis Breytenbach (Beeld)

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Pretoria - The role a lawyer played in a case Glynnis Breytenbach was prosecuting took centre stage at her disciplinary hearing on Wednesday morning.

"... Not only was advocate [Mike] Hellens... drafting the key documents for the prosecution, he was also drafting various key... letters for the police unit," witness Ronald Mendelow said.

Mendelow, who is the lawyer for Imperial Crown Trading (ICT), was testifying for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), at its offices in Silverton, Pretoria.

The NPA said it suspended Breytenbach for failing to act impartially in her investigation of a dispute between ICT and Sishen/Kumba Iron Ore over mineral rights.

Hellens is the lawyer for Kumba, and the NPA alleges he exerted undue influence over Breytenbach in her investigation.

Hellens helped draft affidavits used by the police in their investigations.

Breytenbach has said it is standard practice in a complex commercial case to call on the help of lawyers who are party to the case.

Mendelow sent a letter of complaint about Breytenbach to the then National Director of Public Prosecutions Menzi Simelane on 31 October last year, alleging she favoured Sishen in her probe and had an improper relationship with Hellens.

Breytenbach was suspended as regional head of the NPA's specialised commercial crime unit on 30 April this year.

She has argued that acting National Director of Public Prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba suspended her in an attempt to stop her from prosecuting former police crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli on fraud and other charges.

Breytenbach has pleaded not guilty to 16 charges brought against her by the NPA.

The hearing continues.

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