Motata should be treated as an ordinary person in litigation, tribunal hears

2018-01-19 18:51
 Judge Nkola Motata (File, Netwerk24)

Judge Nkola Motata (File, Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - Retired Judge Nkola Motata did not think it was too serious that false evidence was submitted in court during his drunk driving trial, his legal representative said on Friday.

During closing statements at his client's judicial conduct tribunal, advocate Themba Skosana said Motata should be "pardoned" for failing to correct his then legal team from making a false statement during his trial in 2009.

Motata was found guilty of drunk driving and fined R20 000. This was after he crashed into a wall at a house in Johannesburg in 2007 with his luxury Jaguar, while he was in a drunk state.

ALSO READ: Judge Motata denies he made racist comments when he crashed his car

The tribunal is probing whether the statements Motata allegedly made at the scene can be classified as racist and whether the manner in which he conducted his defence during his trial can be constituted as gross misconduct.

During cross examination at the tribunal, Motata said he told his legal team that he "did not consider himself drunk" during the incident. However, he failed to correct his legal team, which denied that he was intoxicated during his trial. 

Explaining why his client never corrected his legal team at the time, Skosana said Motata "didn't really take this to be serious" and added that he was not "completely free at the trial hearings because, when he wanted to correct something, he was reprimanded by the magistrate".

The second complainant in the current case, advocate Gerrit Pretorius, had argued that Motata used a defence he knew to be untrue and that this amounted to a breach of judicial ethics.

Earlier, evidence leader advocate Ivy Thenga had argued that Motata's actions constituted gross misconduct. 

She argued that Motata's case was aggravated by his drunkenness. 

Thenga also argued that Motata should have known how to conduct himself in the public domain in his position.

READ: Judge Motata must repay part of R14m salary - FF Plus

Skosana meanwhile said this was "unfair" and added: "In so far as he is a litigant, he should be treated as an ordinary person," he said. 

He also said that Motata had not used racist language but rather "vulgarity".

On Friday afternoon, KwaZulu-Natal Judge President Achmat Jappie, who was chairing the tribunal, adjourned proceedings.

A report would be submitted to the Judicial Service Commission .

Motata stands to lose his salary and benefits should his conduct be found unconstitutional during his trial. He also faces impeachment. 

In response to questions by the Freedom Front Plus last year, Justice Minister Michael Masutha said Motata had been paid R14m since being on special leave in 2007.

Read more on:    nkola motata  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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