HETN to appeal Dewani judge decision

2015-04-25 15:34
Judge Jeanette Traverso. (File: AP)

Judge Jeanette Traverso. (File: AP)

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Johannesburg - The Higher Education Transformation Network (HETN) will appeal the decision by the Judicial Conduct Committee (JCC) to dismiss claims that Western Cape High Court Judge Jeanette Traverso was biased against the prosecution during the trial of Shrien Dewani.

"We feel that this decision is fundamentally flawed and we will definitely appeal this timeously," Lucky Thekisho, acting for the HETN told News24 on Saturday.

"We will want to know what has happened in that sitting. We will request all those minutes, we will request all those affidavits of Judge Traverso's and all affidavits."

Thekisho said the HETN felt it should have had an opportunity to respond to Traverso's affidavit.

The HETN also wanted the audio recordings of proceedings.

"We will want the tape recordings because it is factual, it's not going to lie. In our appeal that's what we going to request and if they are fair they should give us all the information," Thekisho said.

'Rude and aggressive'

The JCC ruling by Judge Monica Leeuw and Mahube Molemela reads: “The complaints by Justice4Anni and HETN are dismissed in terms of… the JSC Act."

The Justice4Anni group and HETN both complained that Traverso was friendly towards Dewani’s lawyers, but rude and aggressive to state prosecutor Adrian Mopp during the trial last year.

Dewani was accused of plotting with others to kill his wife Anni during their honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010. In December last year, Traverso found him not guilty of the murder.

The JCC said Traverso’s treatment of Mopp was merely “robust engagement”.

Thekisho said the HETN did not agree with this.

"If its robust engagement let it be fair throughout," he said.

"People must get fair treatment, that was the essence of our complaint but we don't see this coming out in the behaviour of judge Traverso when she was presiding over the trial.

'Negligent and incompetent'

"There was a problem with how this matter was handled."

The JCC said both complainants - HETN and Justice4Anni group - were merely expressing opinions not based on facts or borne out by the record of proceedings.

Thekisho claimed Traverso was grossly negligent and incompetent, and attacked her Afrikaner background and race.

"There is nothing to suggest that he was authorised by HETN to lodge this complaint and that he has personal knowledge of what transpired during the court proceedings,” the JCC said.

According to Thekisho’s written complaint, “in the light of the colour composition of both legal teams, Judge Traverso was predisposed towards showing hostility against the black prosecutor, who was up against all the Afrikaners [in the] defence team”.

Thekisho alleged that, since Traverso was the daughter of Blaar Coetzee, the apartheid-era deputy minister of Bantu administration and development, she had not embraced a new constitutional dispensation and black majority government.

The JCC said Dewani’s lawyers Francois van Zyl and Andre Botha, and Traverso’s assessors Johann Gerber and Penelope Magona, all refuted the allegations. In addition the Western Cape Director of Public Prosecutions and Mopp did not apply for Traverso’s recusal.

Read more on:    jeanette traverso  |  shrien dewani  |  cape town  |  crime  |  dewani trial

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