Breytenbach hearing resumes

2013-01-14 13:01
Glynnis Breytenbach (File, Beeld)

Glynnis Breytenbach (File, Beeld)

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Pretoria - The disciplinary hearing of prosecutor Glynnis Brytenbach resumed at the National Prosecuting Authority's offices in Silverton, Pretoria on Monday.

Ronald Mendelow, the lawyer for Imperial Crown Trading (ICT), who testified last year in August, was being questioned by the National Prosecuting Authority's counsel William Makhari.

Makhari asked Mendelow what he thought about Breytenbach and two other lawyers' attempt to approach his client Archie Luhlabo, a director at ICT.

Mendelow said he considered it to be "highly improper".

"I regarded this to be very surreptitious and underhanded," Mendelow said.

"[They] had no right to approach him [Luhlabo] in this fashion."

Mendelow said it was an attempt to intimidate Luhlabo to turn State witness.

ICT probe

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 mining rights in the Northern Cape.

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

After this complaint was filed, Luhlabo was approached by Nazeer Cassim SC on 10 November 2011.
Cassim told Luhlabo that Breytenbach and Hellens had at separate times phoned him to ask if he represented Luhlabo.

Although not Cassim's client, Luhlabo agreed to meet him.

Cassim told Luhlabo that Hellens said the NPA wanted to offer Luhlabo a deal to turn State witness against ICT.

The hearing will continue through the week.

Makhari said the NPA wanted the inquiry to be finalised and had asked for 10 consecutive days to be set aside for it.

The NPA will call two other witnesses after Mendelow.

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