Pros­ecu­tor in drunk-driv­ing case with­drawal drama

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

A SE­NIOR pub­lic pros­ecu­tor in KwaZulu-Natal who al­legedly pre­tended to be a man after be­ing ar­rested clock­ing 196km/h in an ap­par­ent drunken state has never been pros­e­cuted.

Ar­rested in March 2013, the case against Em­pan­geni chief pros­ecu­tor Glo­ria Philile Sibeko was qui­etly with­drawn from the court roll at the Veru­lam Mag­is­trate’s Court in 2014.

Court doc­u­ments do not say why the case was with­drawn by the pros­e­cu­tion, but days after her ar­rest on March 21, 2013, KwaZulu-Natal trans­port spokesper­son Kwanele Ncalane told The Star’s sis­ter pa­per, The Mer­cury: “While she must still be proven guilty, it is ex­tremely dis­ap­point­ing for a per­son in her po­si­tion to be ar­rested for these crimes.

“She is meant to lead by ex­am­ple as a cus­to­dian of the law. But this ar­rest shows that no one is above the law.”

The prob­lem is that the case was never pros­e­cuted, and on June 8, 2014, all charges were with­drawn by the pros­e­cu­tion with­out the mat­ter ever hav­ing gone to trial.

The events of that night have raised eye­brows within the Na­tional Pros­ecut­ing Author­ity, the po­lice in Ton­gaat, and mem­bers of the KwaZulu-Natal Road Traf­fic In­spec­torate (RTI).

Sev­eral sources in the po­lice, the NPA and the RTI have re­counted var­i­ous ver­sions of what hap­pened that night.

There are a few small vari­a­tions, but one point on which there was none was that the RTI of­fi­cers and mem­bers of SAPS ini­tially be­lieved they had pulled over a man.

The al­le­ga­tion is that Sibeko, who is re­spon­si­ble for pros­e­cu­tion ser­vices in north­ern KwaZulu-Natal, flew through a speed trap near Bal­lito on the N2 in her BMW sedan in the di­rec­tion of Dur­ban. She failed to stop.

An RTI of­fi­cer gave chase and stopped her near the of­framp for King Shaka In­ter­na­tional Air­port. The of­fi­cer, notic­ing a glass in her car, asked if she had been drink­ing.

Asked why she was speed­ing, she re­port­edly said she had been fight­ing with her wife and was go­ing through a di­vorce. She gave her name as Ge­off Phillip Sibeko. She was then taken for a blood test at Ton­gaat Clinic and then to Ton­gaat po­lice sta­tion.

So con­vinced were po­lice that they were deal­ing with a man that, ac­cord­ing to one ver­sion, Sibeko was thrown into the men’s cell.

Sibeko was then granted po­lice bail and on the J398 form for po­lice bail, the of­fi­cer, a Cap­tain Naidoo, had writ­ten her name as “Geff Philip Sibeco”.

Ac­cord­ing to that form (se­rial num­ber A879030), in which Naidoo con­sulted with a De­tec­tive War­rant Of­fi­cer R Goven­der, the charges listed on the J398 were ex­ceed­ing the speed limit and driv­ing while un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol.

It is not clear ex­actly when po­lice be­came sus­pi­cious and at what stage they re­alised that Ge­off was not Ge­off, but rather Glo­ria.

Ac­cord­ing to the court records, Sibeko faced a charge of driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of liquor, reck­less and neg­li­gent driv­ing, speed­ing and de­feat­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion of jus­tice be­cause she “fur­nish (sic) false names to the traf­fic of­fi­cials and / or po­lice of­fi­cials”.

Sibeko con­tin­ues to work as the chief pros­ecu­tor in Em­pan­geni, re­spon­si­ble for the NPA’s pros­e­cu­tions. – ANA

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