MP and co-ac­cused up­beat af­ter le­gal wins

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - GOITSEMANG TLHABYE

FOR­MER National Pros­e­cut­ing Author­ity (NPA) prose­cu­tor and DA MP Glyn­nis Breyten­bach and her co-ac­cused Ger­hard Wa­ge­naar left court yes­ter­day in a jovial mood af­ter win­ning half their le­gal bat­tle.

De­liv­er­ing his ver­dict at the Pre­to­ria North Mag­is­trate’s Court, mag­is­trate Brian Ne­mavhidi said the of­fence of de­feat­ing or ob­struct­ing the ends of jus­tice could not be com­mit­ted if that which an ac­cused in­tended to de­feat was the sub­ject of an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion and not ju­di­cial pros­e­cu­tions, ei­ther civil or crim­i­nal.

Ne­mavhidi said the quasi-ju­di­cial or ad­min­is­tra­tive pro­ceed­ings were not and could not be clas­si­fied as an ad­min­is­tra­tion of jus­tice, and as such both Breyten­bach and Wa­ge­naar were ac­quit­ted.

“The same re­lates to count six, where al­le­ga­tions are to the ef­fect that the ac­cused had been duly in­formed through a no­tice of sus­pen­sion that ac­cused num­ber one was the sub­ject of fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the NPA.

“So if there ever was an of­fence com­mit­ted in an­tic­i­pa­tion of in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion, they were nei­ther civil nor crim­i­nal, and on this ba­sis the ac­cused are ac­quit­ted,” he said.

The mag­is­trate, how­ever, said the State had estab­lished a prima fa­cie case against the two, but noted that they would not pro­vide the rea­sons un­til the clo­sure of the trial.

Breyten­bach de­clined to com­ment on the court’s lat­est find­ing as pro­ceed­ings were still to con­tinue.

The MP and Wa­ge­naar, her for­mer at­tor­ney, were charged with con­tra­ven­tion of the NPA Act and de­feat­ing the ends of jus­tice for al­legedly shred­ding work-re­lated doc­u­ments and delet­ing her pri­vate files on her work lap­top in 2012.

Breyten­bach was cleared of 15 dis­ci­plinary charges af­ter it emerged a copy of ev­ery­thing she deleted was still on the NPA’s server and could be re­trieved. She re­signed from the NPA in 2014.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion against Breyten­bach came af­ter a com­plaint that she was not im­par­tial in her han­dling of a min­ing rights case in­volv­ing Im­pe­rial Crown Trad­ing and Kumba Iron Ore sub­sidiary Sishen Iron Ore.

She dis­missed the al­le­ga­tions and ac­cused her for­mer bosses of or­ches­trat­ing a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion against her to get rid of her be­cause she re­fused to drop charges against the then sus­pended crime in­tel­li­gence head, Richard Md­luli.

She al­leged the charges against her cor­re­lated with the with­drawal of charges against Md­luli by NPA com­mer­cial crimes head Lawrence Mr­webi, which she fiercely op­posed.

The trial look­ing into the re­main­ing four charges is to con­tinue from Oc­to­ber 9 to 13.

SMIL­ING: Glyn­nis Breyten­bach leaves the Pre­to­ria North Mag­is­trate’s Court af­ter judg­ment was handed down.

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