Western Cape Judge President Hlophe puts all new criminal cases on hold

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Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe.
Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe.
Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24
  • All new criminal cases in the Western Cape High Court for this term have been put on hold.
  • This follows an instruction issued by Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe.
  • Hlophe said new criminal cases have been cancelled for the term due to heavy backlog in cases. 

All new criminal cases to be heard in the Western Cape High Court for this term have been postponed.

This follows an instruction issued by Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe.

Hlophe confirmed to News24 on Tuesday that all new criminal cases have been postponed for the term.

The current term of 10 weeks is scheduled to run from Monday to 20 June 2021, with recess scheduled to begin on 21 June 2021.

Hlophe said the instruction was issued due to a heavy case load of trials currently being heard.

"We have about 19 part-heard criminal trials, including those of alleged gangsters. There are no courts available and the cases currently being heard must first be finalised," he said.

READ | There’s 'nothing special' about it: JSC feels 'no pressure' to finalise John Hlophe matter

The Judge President added that, "a few weeks ago, prisoners became violent and assaulted police and prison warders", due to staff shortages.

His office also confirmed that there was a backlog in cases due to Covid-19.

Western Cape National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila referred all queries on the matter to the Judge President's office.

Hlophe made headlines this weekend after the Judicial Conduct Tribunal found him guilty of trying to influence the Constitutional Court in the case against former president Jacob Zuma and French arms dealer Thint. He was found guilty of gross misconduct.

The Judicial Conduct Tribunal unanimously found that Hlophe had improperly attempted to influence Justice Bess Nkabinde and Justice Chris Jafta to violate their oaths of office, according to a report issued late on Saturday.

The tribunal - consisting of Judge Joop Labuschagne, Judge Tati Makgoka and attorney Nishani Pather - found that Hlophe’s conduct seriously threatened and interfered with the independence, impartiality, dignity and effectiveness of the Constitutional Court, thereby threatening public confidence in the judicial system.

The tribunal’s report has been submitted to the chairperson of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) for consideration.

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