Magistrate to pay damages to fraudster - report

2014-09-14 16:28

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Johannesburg - A magistrate has to pay R115 000 of damages plus interest out of her own pocket to a convicted fraudster after she refused to hear her bail application because it was in Afrikaans, according to Rapport.

North Gauteng High Court judge Cynthia Pretorius ruled that Magistrate Hasina Habib's dishonesty during the case of Annalize du Plessis, 43, in the Johannesburg Commercial Crimes Court in 2009 was "blatant", the Afrikaans weekly reported.

Pretorius found that had Habib done her work properly, as was expected of her, she would have heard Du Plessis's bail application.

Du Plessis was arrested in 2009 for R5.2m fraud and appeared before Habib on 3 April, when she postponed the bail application till 9 April.

On the day, Du Plessis's lawyer told the court that her client's affidavit was written Afrikaans but that it would be interpreted for Habib.

Habib reportedly refused saying it was an English court and also told the lawyer her behaviour was arrogant.

Then Habib refused to listen to the lawyer because she was dissatisfied with her attire.

According to the report, Habib also ignored a plea to allow Du Plessis to present her own bail application and she postponed the matter to 14 April.

Pretorius found that Habib was not faithful to the oath she took as a magistrate, deliberately making Du Plessis spend the Easter weekend in jail.

The high court judge also ordered that the minister of justice and correctional services pay Du Plessis R30 000 in damages.

Habib's application for leave to appeal against Pretorius's judgment was dismissed.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  crime

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