Pretoria advocates challenge ruling

2011-11-14 22:21

Pretoria - Six Pretoria advocates struck off the roll for milking the Road Accident Fund (RAF) applied for leave to appeal on Monday against the ruling.

The names of advocates Thillay Pillay, Theunis Botha, Toy de Klerk, Percy Leopeng, Daniel Mogagabe and French Bezuidenhout were struck off the roll in September.

Three retired high court judges ordered them to repay the RAF.

Seven other advocates, Brenton Geach SC, Don Williams SC, Stef Gldenpfennig, Mark Upton, Ephraim Seima, Cassie Jordaan and Colin van Onselen were either given suspended sentences or suspended for up to six months.

The advocates were given a year to pay back more than R15.6m to the RAF.

On Monday, the six who were struck off, applied for leave to appeal against the ruling, arguing that the Supreme Court of Appeal might come to a different conclusion.

In September, the court heard argument that their conduct of accepting multiple briefs for the same day and then charging a full days’ trial fee for each was not dishonest.

They contended that everyone, from the judges in the high court to their attorneys and the RAF, knew about the practice and did not object.

Advocates Pillay and Botha also applied for leave to place new evidence before the Supreme Court of Appeal which they said supported their suspicion that one of the judges who ruled against them had been biased.

They are, among others things, relying on a transcript of a 2009 meeting of the Pretoria Bar Council.

They claimed this indicated that Judge Kees van Dikjkhorst had spoken to two senior members of the Bar about the trial before it began.

They argued that the judge appeared to have expressed strong views that those involved should be "nailed" and should therefore have been precluded from sitting as a member of the bench.

The General Council of the Bar at the same time asked the court for leave to appeal against its decision to suspend rather than strike off the seven other advocates.

It argued that all thirteen advocates had been dishonest and that none of them were fit to practise as advocates.

The application continues.

- SAPA
Read more on:    raf
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