Hunt testifies on wife

2017-04-10 14:00
Husband admires Penny soldiering on in court despite pointing fingers.

Husband admires Penny soldiering on in court despite pointing fingers. (File)

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Senior Pietermaritzburg advocate Cameron Hunt, SC, staunchly believes his wife, advocate Penny Hunt, is innocent of the “bugging” and “tracking” charges she stands accused of.

Penny Hunt has denied hiring Houston “Tex” Impey to plant a listening device in the ceiling of the advocates’ chambers and causing a GPS “tracker” to be attached to the car of fellow advocate Mergen Chetty.

Her actions were allegedly linked to an incident where Cameron Hunt admittedly punched Chetty at a Bar function on June 11, 2010.

Cameron Hunt later pleaded guilty to assault in terms of a plea agreement, was cautioned and discharged, and also paid Chetty R65 000 compensation.

“I have said to Penny did you have anything to do with this [the bugging of chambers] and her answer was no. I believed her then and I still believe her,” Cameron Hunt declared on Friday when testifying before judges Albert Kruger and Connie Mocumie in the case in which the KZN Society of Advocates is seeking to strike his wife off the roll of advocates.

Cameron Hunt said when the Hawks raided their offices and found an alleged listening device in the ceiling on March 14, 2011, he immediately thought “this was a cook up” by former secretary Allyson Bradbury, who left in a huff days earlier on March 10, 2011.

Although his wife once considered Bradbury as a “best friend”, he was “more cynical”, Cameron Hunt said.

“I thought she [Allyson] was a user and she was a user,” he told the society’s advocate Jean Marais, SC, during cross examination.

Cameron Hunt said he could not remember if he ever directly asked Penny if she was responsible for planting the tracking device on Chetty’s car because it “all seemed to be more of the same”.

“I have heard advocate [Peter] Hodes, SC, ask her and her answer was no and I believe that,” he said.

He admitted he was aware his wife had managed to obtain a confidential police “printout” about Chetty after the punching incident, but had not “given it a lot of thought”.

Cameron Hunt testified that he would not have approved of his wife planting a bug in the advocates’ chambers or putting a tracker onto Chetty’s car.

He told the court of the “isolation” he and his wife experienced as a result of the uproar that erupted following the punching incident.

He said that assault by him on Chetty was sparked because Chetty was drunk and swore at his wife.

Cameron Hunt described a vitriolic atmosphere afterwards in which members of the Pietermaritzburg Bar subjected the couple to public scrutiny in the media and made many allegations against them at heated meetings.

He said he and his wife were never given the courtesy of a hearing. There were calls for his resignation in the wake of the Chetty incident, and Penny Hunt had learned “publicly” from a letter pinned to the notice board in the advocates’ chambers about the decision to strike her off the roll.

Cameron Hunt also criticised press coverage, in particular by The Witness, about the punching incident, followed by reports about the alleged theft of the CCTV hard drive at the chambers, and the discovery of the bugging device.

He said Penny Hunt’s practice “took a knock” as a result of the negative coverage and alleged that in the wake of a front page article about the present matter and that the society was seeking to have her disbarred “she [Penny] would be lucky to receive five briefs”.

“All of these articles now live on forever on the Internet,” he testified.

Hunt said he believes his wife was “extremely brave to soldier on” and continue appearing in court knowing people were “pointing fingers” at her.

“She has always been able to support herself.

“Now she is totally dependent on me,” he said.

Under cross examination Cameron Hunt said he still did not fully understand why members of the Bar were so antagonistic towards him and Penny.

He said he believes there was a perception they were “joined at the hip” and that it was a case of “us and them”.

He also confirmed that he and the former chairman of the Pietermaritzburg Bar Committee, Adrian Rall, “have little time for one another”.

While conceding he has a temper, Cameron Hunt denied being prone to violence.

He agreed he once “punched” a council worker after his new car bumper was damaged as a result of a trench having been dug across the entrance to the chambers parking area.

Another incident in which he allegedly caused a colleague to suffer a “bloody nose” was the result of “mere horseplay” and happened at least 15 years ago, he said.

He said the advocate in question had apologised to him for even mentioning it because he “knows what really happened”.

Hunt said although he was initially “unrepentant” about hitting Chetty because he felt that Chetty had provoked the incident and he was protecting his wife at the time, he came to accept he acted incorrectly which was why he pleaded guilty. “If I could change it, I would,” he said.

He dismissed as “rubbish” the allegation that Penny Hunt “poured beer” over Chetty’s head sparking the altercation. “I saw him and his head and body were not wet,” he said.

Penny Hunt is expected to testify on Monday [today].

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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