Fraud ac­cused wants to be freed to pre­pare for trial

Le­gal ex­pert War­dle adamant she will de­fend her­self

The Herald (South Africa) - - NEWS - Kathryn Kim­ber­ley kim­ber­leyk@ti­soblack­

DEAD set on con­duct­ing her own de­fence be­cause she be­lieves with her qual­i­fi­ca­tions she can do a bet­ter job than most, le­gal com­men­ta­tor Brenda War­dle has asked a judge to or­der her im­me­di­ate re­lease so that she can pre­pare for trial.

The le­gal ex­pert, who be­came a house­hold name dur­ing her in­ter­na­tional com­men­tary on the Os­car Pis­to­rius mur­der trial, said the con­di­tions at North End Cor­rec­tional Cen­tre, where she has been in cus­tody since June, were not con­ducive for her to pre­pare an ad­e­quate de­fence.

War­dle, 56, stands ac­cused in the Port El­iz­a­beth Com­mer­cial Crimes Court of de­fraud­ing an East­ern Cape fam­ily out of more than R500 000 between April 2009 and Au­gust 2013, by pre­tend­ing to be a prac­tis­ing at­tor­ney and of­fer­ing to as­sist them in hav­ing an im­pris­oned rel­a­tive re­leased on pa­role.

In a neatly hand­writ­ten ap­pli­ca­tion filed with the Port El­iz­a­beth High Court, which War­dle said had been painful to draft be­cause of an ab­scess on her thumb, she asked the judge to de­clare her ar­rest and sub­se­quent de­ten­tion un­law­ful, and to or­der her im­me­di­ate re­lease.

She said she also in­tended bring­ing a civil claim against the min­is­ter of po­lice.

In the ap­pli­ca­tion – which cites, among oth­ers, com­mer­cial crimes mag­is­trates Louis Claassen and Lionel Lin­door, state ad­vo­cate Tjaart van Zyl and com­mer­cial crimes unit com­man­der Colonel An­dre Ho­rak – War­dle said the war­rant used to ef­fect her ar­rest in East Lon­don was, on face value, de­fec­tive be­cause it was not even stamped.

She said un­der nor­mal cir­cum­stances she would have chal­lenged the va­lid­ity of the war­rant im­me­di­ately.

How­ever, the ar­rest had taken place in a hu­mil­i­at­ing fash­ion in front of her young grand­chil­dren. “They were vis­i­bly trau­ma­tised.”

War­dle said neigh­bours in her street had also started to con­gre­gate and that the po­lice­men in civil­ian cloth­ing had failed to prop­erly iden­tify them­selves.

“I con­duct my own de­fence. I am in cus­tody and I do not even have ad­e­quate fa­cil­i­ties to pre­pare my de­fence.”

She said she had re­peat­edly asked for ac­cess to her lap­top, the in­ter­net and a read­ing lamp, to no avail.

She fur­ther­more ac­cused the po­lice of ly­ing dur­ing her bail ap­pli­ca­tion in July, when it emerged that she had evaded court for more than a year.

“I had at­tended court but was di­ag­nosed with se­vere hy­per­ten­sion and missed a few court dates.”

War­dle, a pub­lished au­thor who was study­ing to­wards her Doc­tor of Laws de­gree prior to her ar­rest, in­di­cated at the time that she was more than qual­i­fied to con­duct her own de­fence, de­spite a re­minder from mag­is­trate Lin­door of the age-old say­ing “a man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client”.

War­dle is due back in the com­mer­cial crimes court on Novem­ber 24, with the trial ex­pected to start next year.


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