ConCourt rules on bias allegation case
Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court on Tuesday ruled against an application for direct access in a case involving allegations of bias directed at some judges in the Supreme Court of Appeals (SCA).
Brian de Lacy and Barry Beadon had unsuccessfully tendered for the supply of a pension payment system at the SA Post Office.
They alleged that the tender process had been fraudulent and instituted action in the South Gauteng High Court for damages they allege had been caused by this.
They were partially successful, but the court granted both parties leave to appeal to the SCA.
The SCA dismissed the men's appeal and held in favour of the Post Office.
De Lacy and Beadon filed an application for leave to appeal to the Constitutional Court in June 2009, based on an aspect of the element of intention in claims for damages related to State tenders.
This application was dismissed.
However, the two men turned to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) with a complaint based on the factual findings made by the SCA in its judgment.
The JSC suggested that the men consider approaching the Constitutional Court again.
The two men contended in their submission that the SCA judgment had 114 factual mistakes, which gave rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias.
The Constitutional Court ruled that they had failed to establish the claimed number of errors, or that an error had been made that would have shown bias.
The court found that their previous applications amounted to discontent with the SCA's findings and that they withdrew their allegations of bias two days before the Constitutional Court hearing.
The court ordered that the applicants pay costs on a punitive scale and that the registrar furnish a copy of the judgment to their respective professional bodies in order to consider whether their conduct merited an inquiry.