Lawyer probed over bugging

2011-03-18 00:00

A PIETERMARITZBURG advocate who is already under investigation in connection with the alleged theft of a hard drive from the CCTV surveillance system at the Pietermaritzburg advocates’ chambers last year, is now being investigated by police in connection with a bugging device alleged to have been planted in chambers.

The Witness has reliably learnt that a listening device was discovered in a ceiling in the office of the bar administrator at the advocates’ chambers on Monday this week, after police obtained a warrant to search the premises.

It is believed police also seized the computer hard drive of the computer belonging to the advocate in question.

Contacted for comment yesterday the chairman of the Pietermaritzburg Bar, Adrian Rall, SC, confirmed that a police investigation is currently underway into the allegations but did not wish to comment further at this stage.

SAPF media spokesperson, Joey Jeevan confirmed that the Organised Crime Unit is investigating the matter, but due to the sensitivity of the investigation did not want to elaborate.

“I can confirm that a case has been opened concerning an alleged contravention of the Interception and Monitoring Act,” she said.

In November last year, the woman advocate was called to appear before a disciplinary committee to answer to charges of “unprofessional and disgraceful conduct unbecoming of an advocate”.

The charges arose from the allegation that she was behind the theft of the hard drive from the CCTV surveillance system installed at the advocates’ chambers on October 30, 2010.

It was alleged that she instructed an employee of a local surveillance systems company to remove the hard drive and replace it with a new one on a pretext that he had been authorised to do so by another advocate.

The motive for the alleged theft is not known.

The Witness was told yesterday that the disciplinary proceedings against the advocate concerned arising from that allegation are still pending.

Jeevan confirmed yesterday that police are also awaiting the outcome of the disciplinary inquiry before their own investigation can be finalised.

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