News24

Selebi in court for judgment

2010-07-01 10:08

Johannesburg - State prosecutor Gerrie Nel cut a lone figure as he sat in contemplation at the furthest end of the corridor in the South Gauteng High Court ahead of judgment in the prolonged Jackie Selebi case on Thursday.

Since 2006 he and his team have doggedly pursued corruption and defeating the ends of justice charges against the former police chief and Interpol head.

Graciously asking that he not be quoted on how he feels ahead of the crucial judgment, Nel was left to sit quietly on the old court chair as Selebi and his entourage arrived.

Selebi merely shrugged his shoulders and said "just okay" when asked how he felt.

His wife Anne was among those there to support him.

Outside the court television satellite vans and crowds of photographers had gathered to capture the final moments of a two-and-a-half year trial.

Big Brother celebrity Brad Wood, wearing a blue boilersuit branded with the words "weapon instructor", was among those in the public gallery.

Comments after judgement

The case caused turmoil in the presidency and led to the sacking of National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Vusi Pikoli who would not back down on the authority's decision to arrest Selebi.

At one point, Nel himself was briefly arrested as tensions between police and the authority rose.

Inside the court barley sweets were handed out amongst the lawyers as they watched a huge trolley of lever arch files being wheeled next to Judge Meyer Joffe's feet.

NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga was on hand to field requests for comment after the judgment.

Selebi faced charges of corruption relating to up to R1.2m he allegedly received from various people in return for favours, as well as charges of defeating the ends of justice. He pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.