PMB magistrate hits back

2018-05-14 10:07
(Left) PMB magistrate Ashin Singh. (Right) Chief magistrate Mpho Evelyn Monyemore.

(Left) PMB magistrate Ashin Singh. (Right) Chief magistrate Mpho Evelyn Monyemore. (File/SA Judiciary)

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Local magistrate Divesh Mootheram, who stands accused of swearing at his boss, has hit back by handing in documents showing that she and another senior staffer were investigated for allegedly intimidating him and other magistrates.

The documents show that Mootheram and two colleagues had lodged grievances with the Magistrates Commission late last year alleging they were “intimidated and victimised” by chief magistrate Mpho Evelyn Monyemore and senior magistrate Ashin Singh.

On Friday when Mootheram’s case came before the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court his lawyer, Sanjay Sarawan, handed in two letters that he said the defence wished to place on record.

Mootheram hasn’t yet pleaded to the charge but his lawyer has indicated that he will plead not guilty.

The charge against Mootheram arises from an allegation that he swore at Monyemore in April last year.

One of the witnesses in the trial is believed to be Singh.

The letters emanate from the Magistrates Commission. One is addressed to Mootheram and the other to retired senior magistrate DC van Greuning.

Dated October 10, 2017, the letter to Mootheram is titled “Grievances lodged by yourself and other Magistrates”.

It refers to a meeting held by the Magistrates Commission on August 25 last year which considered grievances lodged by Mootheram, Ms A. Bezuidenhout and Ms P.S. Joubert against Monyemore and Singh.

“The grievances relate to intimidation and victimisation by the chief magistrate Ms Monyemore and Mr Singh in light of the grievances lodged. Furthermore, in light of this they have now been rotated to other courts without consultation.”

It added that in light of the serious allegations stemming from the documentation, the commission was referring the matter to the ethics committee for consideration as the allegations are, “prima facie, tantamount to serious misconduct”, the letter stated.

It was signed by the secretary of the commission, M. Dawood.

The other letter is dated June 20 last year, and addressed to Van Greuning.

It is titled “Appointment to conduct a preliminary investigation against Ms E Monyemore and Mr AAK Singh, respectively chief magistrate and senior magistrate at Pietermaritzburg”.

The letter confirmed the appointment of  Van Greuning to conduct “a preliminary investigation to obtain evidence with regard to the allegations and all matters connected with or incidental thereto” in order to determine whether there were any grounds for a charge of misconduct against Monyemore and Singh.

It also instructed Van Greuning to compile a report and recommend to the commission whether or not the two magistrates should be charged with misconduct and, if so what the charge should be.

It also said the report should reach the commission on or before August 31, 2017.

No documents were handed to court indicating what became of these investigations.

According to the charge sheet, Mootheram is alleged to have unlawfully and intentionally “injured, insulted and impaired” the dignity of Monyemore on April 11, last year.

It is alleged that he said he “will get rid of the corrupt black b***h” and/or “f**ken black b***h” and/or “f**ken corrupt black b***h”.

On Friday, presiding magistrate Ishwar Dehaloo was informed that the state attorney will be assisting Mootheram to pay for his defence.

The case has been adjourned to June 22.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  court case

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