Pretoria advocate may face criminal probe

2011-09-01 20:25

Pretoria - A Pretoria advocate and attorneys who allegedly helped him to "milk" the Road Accident Fund (RAF) of up to R237 400 for just one day's work might face a criminal investigation.

The Pretoria Society of Advocates (PSA) asked a full bench of the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Thursday not only to strike the name of advocate French Bezuidenhout off the roll of advocates, but also to refer him and his instructing attorneys to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Law Society.

The PSA asked the court to confirm fines and periods of suspension imposed on 12 other prominent Pretoria advocates, but the General Council of the Bar asked the court to strike them off the roll too.

The 12 admitted guilt on a range of charges relating to accepting more than one case for the same court date (so-called double-briefing) and charged the RAF full trial fees for each case (referred to as overreaching).

Bezuidenhout denied any wrongdoing, claiming he was acting in the public interest, and refused to open his books to the PSA.

Advocate Quintus Pelser SC, appearing for the PSA, argued that Bezuidenhout, through his conduct, relegated the Bar to a mere money-making trade and had discredited the profession of advocates.

He said it appeared that attorneys had "merrily" worked to tap the RAF.

The tapping of the fund was so serious that one of the senior advocates involved told a disciplinary committee that "if it rains porridge, you must scoop".

"... This court cannot close its eyes. The obvious thing to do is to refer the case of the respondent (Bezuidenhout) and the attorneys who were identified in court papers to the DPP," he said.

Pelser said it appeared from Bezuidenhout's VAT invoices that he appeared in 803 trials over a period of 152 court days in 2009, and on one single day charged the RAF over R237 000.

For the total of 871 trials (of which only 34 did not involve the RAF) in which he appeared in 2009, he had debited over R10.2m.

Of all the trials he did for or against the RAF that year, he only consulted in 4,4 percent of the cases and it appeared he never intended to go on trial, but intended to settle all of the cases.

Pelser said it was difficult to see how Bezuidenhout could have done justice to his clients' cases and it was naive to suggest that his conduct was not dishonest.

He argued that Bezuidenhout still held himself out to be "the hero in the story" who was busy with a public duty, but there were many other advocates who did road accident work without contravening the rules pertaining to double-briefing and overreaching.

Counsel for Bezuidenhout, Peet Delport SC, argued that the contraventions his client committed were no worse than those committed by the other 12 advocates and that the court should not look at only the figures.

He said the PSA itself had not acted strictly against double-briefing during that period.

Delport said Bezuidenhout's view at the time was that he could not be charged with double-briefing unless there was a complainant.

The application continues.


Read more on:    raf

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


An uncomfortable election

The latter few weeks of election 2014, have seen South Africans reeling from an assault on their comfort zone when it comes to voting, writes Daniel Silke


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Note 16GB

GALAXY Note combines the market's largest HD Super AMOLED display,...

From R3899.00

I'm shopping for:


You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.