Judges throw ‘spat’ out of court

2014-11-08 00:00

A CONFLICT between two Pinetown neighbours was nothing more than a spat that should never have come to court, two judges ruled in the Pietermaritzburg high court this week.

The case arose after a man who was provoked by the alleged persistent hooting of his neighbour, grabbed the hooter’s shirt.

Appeal Judges D. Pillay and A. van Zyl, found that the Pinetown prosecution should have refused to prosecute Jason Munro, who complained to the hooter, Dr Raymond Ngcobo.

Ngcobo had arrived home and hooted to call his children to open a gate for him.

Munro alleged that the hooting was particularly irritating as Ngcobo was “sitting and leaning on his hooter for a long time”.

The incident occurred on February 18 last year and Munro was arrested on March 7.

The judges found that the magistrate should have decided that the evidence given by Ngcobo did not discharge the state’s case and he should have acquitted Munro.

Instead he convicted Munro of assault and imposed a fine of R3 000 or six months’ jail, totally suspended. Ngcobo had referred to Munro as a “white guy, white boy or white male”.

According to the judges, the race of a person should be irrelevant. If race had not featured in this conflict it would have been nothing more than a minor spat between neighbours.

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