Media allowed access to Breytenbach hearing

2012-07-23 10:18

Johannesburg - Media must be allowed at the disciplinary hearing of suspended National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach, the North Gauteng High Court ruled on Monday.

"It is of the utmost importance that the media has access to this disciplinary hearing... " Judge Ronel Tolmay ruled.

The hearing would deal with matters of significant constitutional importance and should be in the public domain, she said.

Breytenbach was suspended as regional head of the specialised commercial crime unit on April 30, allegedly for conduct relating to cases allocated to her.

Application against suspension dismissed

She contended that she believed acting national director of public prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba suspended her in an attempt to protect former intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.

On Wednesday, Johannesburg Labour Court Judge Hamilton Cele dismissed her application against suspension from the National Prosecuting Authority.

This was because Breytenbach failed to show there were compelling or urgent circumstances to justify a final declaration of the unlawfulness of her suspension, he said.

He said however that if the NPA did exercise its right to discipline Breytenbach, it could be found to be "flouting and frustrating" the aims of an investigation ordered by the High Court in Pretoria into Mdluli's suspension.

NPA: Hearings private affairs

On Friday, Media24, Avusa Media and M-Net launched an urgent application in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Friday for access to Breytenbach's disciplinary hearing.

Permission for the print media was initially granted by disciplinary hearing chairperson Barry Madolo, but the NPA subsequently said Madolo, who has since recused himself from the hearing, had no authority to make such a decision.

The National Director of Public Prosecutions is opposing the application on the grounds that disciplinary hearings are private affairs and that the presence of the media might intimidate witnesses.

  • herman.heil - 2012-07-23 11:00

    Let the truth be set free!

  • Bless Boswell - 2012-07-23 11:07

    A victory for what is right and fair.

  • crracker.crackerr - 2012-07-23 11:14

    Why should it not be public unless there are some things we should not know? Whose country is this anyway?

  • keith.recore - 2012-07-23 11:46

    hopefully this open window in the process will clear some of the air, may even get some accountability. Might even give the hearing a sense of fairness.

  • badballie - 2012-07-23 12:04

    a well landed slap in the face for the NPA, even a layperson with no legal knowledge knew that they would not succeed. Now to put the rest of the scum bags in government office in their places.

  • busicor.nel - 2012-07-23 12:11

    This process is based on a court example with witnesses , prosecutor and presiding judge. How come then do the NPA fear for the witnesses may be intimidated. This will only leave there testimony open to be investigated , as it will and so it makes it better and more trustworthy evidence. Does the NPA not expect witnesses every day to testify in open court, do they not fear these witnesses may be intimidated. This is so corrupt it actually scary how silly our legal system is. No gangsters or criminals her just the media and the truth. But this is what the NPA fears the most.

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