'Jou ma se…' advocate cleared

2011-12-09 10:12

Cape Town - An advocate who swore at a judge in open court has been cleared of allegations of unprofessional conduct because of a medical condition.

The Cape Times reported on Friday that the Cape Bar Council found Nehemiah Ballem’s condition “made him lack the capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct”.

However, the council's chairperson Alasdair Sholto-Douglas said they were not willing to divulge the nature of his illness because it was confidential.

Ballem swore at Western Cape High Court Judge Lee Bozalek earlier this year while court was in session, saying: “Jou ma se poes, man. Fuck you.”


A few days later, he told reporters he was drunk at the time, but that he was not sorry for his outburst. He was later hospitalised, apparently for stress. Ballem could not be reached for comment last night.

According to Sholto-Douglas, he had already resigned as a member of the Cape Bar and was unable to work as an advocate. He would only be able to continue working if he could produce a medical certificate and if he had obtained the bar council’s written approval.

After a meeting on Thursday, the bar council found Ballem not guilty on complaints of unprofessional conduct and conduct unbecoming of an advocate.

However, Ballem’s “foul, insulting and inappropriate” language and conduct was not in dispute and, in a statement, Sholto-Douglas took a hard stance against Ballem’s actions.

“Mr Ballem’s conduct represents a serious and flagrant departure from the standards of professional conduct required of an advocate,” Sholto-Douglas said.

The bar council had also conveyed its findings to Bozalek, as well as a formal apology from Ballem.

  • Mlungisi - 2011-12-09 10:19

    Give that man a Bells.......................

      Kenny - 2011-12-09 10:53

      Seems like he already had a few bells in before he entered the court

  • methedex - 2011-12-09 10:19

    He was very angry jong! Probably hit a huge pothole on his way to work... It made him very much cross!

      Deon - 2011-12-09 10:36

      No potholes here, only too much alcohol.

      steve.dupreez - 2011-12-09 11:57

      Maybe he had some pot??

      Chum Scrubber - 2011-12-09 13:51

      Or hit a pothead? Would have caused more damage ...

  • Larry - 2011-12-09 10:20

    MAybe Selebi should have tried this when he was in Court?

  • Jerolan - 2011-12-09 10:26

    I would love to have seen the judges face

      Jim - 2011-12-09 10:59

      That makes both of us.

      Kevin - 2011-12-09 11:33

      According to ....It looks like a .....

      Chum Scrubber - 2011-12-09 13:53

      You mean like a cat, Kevin?

  • Blade - 2011-12-09 10:31

    Hollywoods finest comedy writers draw their inspiration and material from South Africa.

      Louwhan - 2011-12-09 11:52

      I don´t know. There would have been a lot more BLOCK BUSTERS if that was the case.

  • Geronimo - 2011-12-09 10:36

    Weak decision. You have to ask yourself, would this be acceptable in a normal, civilised society? Nope.

      Kevin - 2011-12-09 11:34

      Eish ,give him another chance ....again

  • Deon - 2011-12-09 10:39

    Mental or metabolic disease or just "gesuip"?

  • Kopraal SilverStar Mohloli - 2011-12-09 10:40

    ...but he is fit enough to be an Advocate bcz he understands the wrongfullness of his clients' conduct enough to represent them in court?#sigh, i must be havin a slow Friday!

  • nicn44 - 2011-12-09 10:41

    Hell these guys can talk their way out of a paper bag

  • Greg - 2011-12-09 10:43

    Seriously? What a joke!

      Vegi - 2011-12-09 11:07

      There is no joke. The individual was not guilty even without the intervention of mental illness. The judge provoked him. Why is no one pointing out the embarrassing manner in which the judge cross questioned Advocate Ballem about his lateness in court even after the apology.

      Geronimo - 2011-12-09 11:33

      Vegi, since when is it acceptable for legal representatives to keep the Judge waiting? No bru, in Court the Judge is King. If I was being represented by Counsel, I'd want Counsel to win the Judge over no matter the personality of the individual Judge.

      Chum Scrubber - 2011-12-09 13:57

      Had my time in court - its a long tedious process, the oke deserved to hammered for being late. Sickening how the legal fraternity stuffs the public around, and its not as if they're not paid well! His apology means nothing now we've heard his lame excuse for abusing the judge. Nothing!

  • ivan.coetzee2 - 2011-12-09 10:46


  • abrhamtwaksak - 2011-12-09 11:02

    to be a mother does have its drawbacks. to have your privates discussed in open court is just not cricket. why nobody ever discuss 'jou pa se voël' remains one of the proofs that we live in a patriagal society. no wonder celeste do not like potatoes!

      kvdwatt - 2011-12-09 11:52

      oh vader jy is snaaks...jou pa se

  • mninawa - 2011-12-09 11:03

    im sure he said "Jou ma se…" the coloured way one says "Jou ma se…" better than coloureds....They should own the word,copyright it...

      emile.eley - 2011-12-09 12:53

      We innovate, others imitate.

      Elbie Schlebusch - 2011-12-09 12:55

      Fully, in any other part of the country the same outburst would've been so much less colourful!

  • Vegi - 2011-12-09 11:03

    In fact most judiciary officers show a cavalier disregard of the dignity of lawyers, at times treating them like children and shouting at them. There was no reason for the judge to nag after the apology, even saying to the lawyer " you are sailing very close to the wind." I find that the behaviour of the judge was objectionable.

      Blade - 2011-12-09 12:14

      Is Vegi short for Vegina?

      Mike - 2011-12-09 12:32

      Frank if vegi was a junior he would know better. It doesn't matter how the bench behaves you cannot behave like he did as there are other means to deal with it.

      Chum Scrubber - 2011-12-09 14:00

      Lawyers need to be put in their place, they stuff us Joe public okes around without any remorse. They're not Gods, discipline the overpaid tardy chops!

  • Janice - 2011-12-09 11:09


  • Deeteem - 2011-12-09 11:10

    At least he did not blame it on good old faithfull "apartheid" !!

      Iceberg - 2011-12-09 13:53

      Or the DEVIL :D

  • FerretGee - 2011-12-09 11:10

    Unless he has Tourettes Syndrome, there is no excuse for that kind of language in a court. What kind of Advocate is he that he doesn't know his conduct was wrong?

  • morwape - 2011-12-09 11:14

    sometimes you may lose controll and swear them.they are full of themselves.

  • Shirley - 2011-12-09 11:15

    Firstly this potty mouth practised law but cannot appreciate wrongfulness????? Secondly this line of I have an illness-cant go to jail,cant help my language,cant distinguish between legal tender bidding and tender fraud,corruption ect is a load of HORSES@IT!!!!!!!! No wonder crime is so rampant,the legal minds cannot tell right from wrong!

      Mike - 2011-12-09 12:35

      What a load of hogwash generalizations.

  • Darren - 2011-12-09 11:19

    F-J… F-J!

  • Sizwe - 2011-12-09 11:22

    If you have never dealt with "Presiding" officers you will not understand that man. I say give him a bells for telling these P(s)OB's where to get off, they are rude and uncultured.....!

      Riaan - 2011-12-09 11:25

      Are you speaking from experience? Were you an accused in a criminal investigation?

  • hendrik.voges - 2011-12-09 11:27

    What a pity full lot of bull. As professional people they should be very ashamed to even use such an excuse in public. Disgraceful!!

  • Kevin - 2011-12-09 11:31

    Must have been a mild case of Shailaklitus

  • RobinHood - 2011-12-09 11:34

    Drank verduur darem maar net nie onreg nie

  • rvbrink - 2011-12-09 11:35

    Driving under the influence get you sent to jail, other times it gets you off the hook because then it is an "illness".

  • Koos - 2011-12-09 12:04

    dis te lekker..... miskien moet ek dit ook begin doen!

  • phinda.buthelezi - 2011-12-09 12:32


  • Marshall - 2011-12-09 12:45

    Just wonder what would have happened had the judge retaliated by saying the same thing back to Nehemiah. What a name for such a foul mouth.

  • emile.eley - 2011-12-09 12:48

    This thing is done and dusted. Move on. Let's not forget the countless people Ballem represented with distinction.

  • Simon - 2011-12-09 13:17

    i accidentally killed someone important , I get outbreaks when people bring down a house ,

  • Dirk - 2011-12-09 14:10

    To the guy who took down my post... "Jou ma se e-pos...."

  • Bobo - 2011-12-09 14:15

    @ Methedex : LOL I think your comment just made it to be the most funniest on news 24 this entire year !! Thank you I couldn`t stop lauging....

  • Gregory Jurgens - 2011-12-09 19:07

    Bwhaaa ha ha ha. would love to of seen the look on the judges face.

  • William James Haggard - 2011-12-16 03:37

    Drunk at the bar? What else can on be when at the bar? (I have always wondered about the expensive liquor that is consumed by those who are affiliated to the bar.)

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