Scorpions get magistrate’s subpoenas quashed

2008-04-06 00:00

Subpoenas issued against Scorpions top brass Gerhardus Nel and Andrew Leask, ordering them to appear in court to testify in a Pietermaritzburg drugs trial, were set aside by Judge Isaac Madondo in the high court on Friday.

Nel is the regional head of the Scorpions in Gauteng and Chief Special Investigator Leask is head of the Special National Projects Unit.

Magistrate Ashin Singh, at whose behest the subpoenas were issued, agreed to abide by the decision of the high court and did not oppose the urgent application brought by Nel and Leask to quash the subpoenas.

However, in his affidavit he said he wished to express his concern at the “paranoia” displayed by Nel and Leask that he is “out to get them” and that his actions were an abuse of the process of court.

He also expressed the view that DSO (Directorate of Special Operations or Scorpions) staff are “suffering from paranoia due to their impending closing down”, and called the application “ill-conceived and unwarranted”.

“Both applicants, by virtue of the positions they hold, will be able to give general evidence on drug matters in SA, and by Nigerians in particular, and adduce statistics relating to drug busts … which would assist me in imposing a suitable sentence,” he said.

Singh said in his affidavit that the subpoenas, copies of which were attached to the court papers, were in fact fatally defective on a number of technical legal grounds, and could not have been enforced.

He submitted that any proceedings emanating from them therefore are “fruitless and wasted expenditure, which serve only to enrich the chosen legal practitioners who may have a relationship with certain DSO members”.

Singh said he has no personal issues with Nel and Leask, but said he thought other officials of the DSO and National Directorate of Public Prosecutions with whom he is involved in disputes, were behind the application.

He claimed that application papers failed to mention that prior to this he presided over a DSO drug and racketeering bail application and found in favour of the DSO in that case.

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