Ad­vo­cates want Hunt out

KZN so­ci­ety lodge ap­pli­ca­tion to strike ‘ un­eth­i­cal’ mem­ber from the roll

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - IN­GRID OELLERMANN

THE So­ci­ety of Ad­vo­cates of KZN has lodged an ap­pli­ca­tion to strike ad­vo­cate Penny Hunt from the roll.

It is claimed she was in­stru­men­tal in the 2010 theft of CCTV se­cu­rity equip­ment at the Pi­eter­mar­itzburg ad­vo­cates’ cham­bers, ar­ranged for a bug to be planted in the ceil­ing at the cham­bers in 2011, and had a track­ing de­vice fit­ted to an­other ad­vo­cate’s car.

Hunt is fight­ing back and al­leges the ap­pli­ca­tion is un­war­ranted and the re­sult of al­legedly “re­morse­less and biased pres­sure”.

This pres­sure, she al­leges, em­anates from the Pi­eter­mar­itzburg Bar Com­mit­tee and, in par­tic­u­lar, for­mer chair­per­son Adrian Rall SC.

Hunt says she is a fit and proper per­son to prac­tise as an ad­vo­cate and the al­le­ga­tions are un­true.

A high court or­der was granted by con­sent in open court in the Pi­eter­mar­itzburg high court on Fri­day, re­fer­ring the mat­ter “pro­vi­sion­ally” for trial on Jan­uary 25 next year.

The com­plaints against Hunt, de­tailed in vol­umes of court doc­u­ments, in­clude al­le­ga­tions that she had a track­ing de­vice fit­ted to the ve­hi­cle of ad­vo­cate Mer­gen Chetty in a bid to “get dirt” on him.

The de­vice was al­legedly fit­ted af­ter an in­ci­dent when Chetty charged Hunt’s hus­band, Cameron Hunt SC, with as­sault for punch­ing him at a party in June 2010.

Other al­le­ga­tions against Hunt are that she was guilty of “dou­ble book­ing”, and mis­led a dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tee of the Pi­eter­mar­itzburg Bar.

In re­ply, Hunt em­phat­i­cally de­nies all the al­le­ga­tions.

She al­leges Rall — chair­per­son of the Pi­eter­mar­itzburg Bar from Novem­ber 2010 to Au­gust 2012 — “clashed” on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions with her hus­band, that their re­la­tion­ship was “far from cor­dial”, and that Rall had “demon­strated a de­ter­mi­na­tion” to do her and her hus­band harm.

The Hunts were mem­bers of the Pi­eter­mar­itzburg Bar un­til Novem­ber 2011, when they re­lo­cated their prac­tices to Dur­ban.

Rall, who strongly de­nies Hunt’s al­le­ga­tions against him, al­leges she demon­strated “repet­i­tive un­pro­fes­sional, crim­i­nal and de­vi­ous be­hav­iour”.

Her con­duct showed she lacked in­sight to dis­tin­guish be­tween what was pro­fes­sion­ally ac­cept­able and “what is clearly wrong”, he said.

“Some­one so eth­i­cally hand­i­capped can­not be al­lowed to prac­tise as an ad­vo­cate,” Rall said.

Ac­cord­ing to his af­fi­davit, Hunt al­legedly caused Hous­ton Wayne Im­pey to re­move a CCTV hard drive from the Pi­eter­mar­itzburg ad­vo­cates’ cham­bers on Oc­to­ber 30, 2010, and re­place it with an­other so that she could view the footage on the orig­i­nal “at leisure”.

Rall said he was present when the cham­ber ceil­ing was searched and a de­vice con­sist­ing of wires, a mi­cro­phone and a “black box” was re­trieved by RT Elec­tron­ics on March 13, 2011. Po­lice con­firmed it was a “lis­ten­ing de­vice”.

It was sub­se­quently dis­cov­ered that Hunt also al­legedly ar­ranged to have a track­ing de­vice fit­ted to Chetty’s car, said Rall. Im­pey was paid R10 000 for his ser­vices. The de­vice was in­stalled un­der the rear bumper of Chetty’s car.

Chetty said in his af­fi­davit he was “shocked be­yond be­lief” when po­lice re­trieved a “plas­tic rec­tan­gu­lar ob­ject” at­tached to a metal re­ceiver from un­der his car.

The dis­cov­ery was made dur­ing the time that po­lice were in­ves­ti­gat­ing his com­plaint that he was se­ri­ously as­saulted by Cameron Hunt SC in 2010.

He as­sumed Hunt wanted to find some­thing to use as lever­age to make him with­draw the charge against her hus­band, he said.

In re­ply­ing pa­pers, Hunt de­nies ev­ery al­le­ga­tion or that she com­mit­ted any crim­i­nal con­duct, and said the Direc­tor of Public Pros­e­cu­tions de­clined to pros­e­cute her for theft of the hard drive.

She said she had re­quested Im­pey to ob­tain a copy of video footage from the CCTV sys­tem to ob­tain proof of “how ine­bri­ated Chetty was” when the in­ci­dent in­volv­ing her hus­band oc­curred, but she be­lieved she was en­ti­tled to do so.

Hunt cat­e­gor­i­cally de­nies caus­ing a bug to be in­stalled at the cham­bers, or that she was re­spon­si­ble for the track­ing de­vice on Chetty’s car

Ac­cord­ing to Hunt, she was wor­ried in Au­gust 2010 that her com­mu­ni­ca­tions were be­ing mon­i­tored and had con­fided in a client in the se­cu­rity in­dus­try, Den­nis de Beer.

De Beer had climbed into the ceil­ing above her cham­bers and showed her what he iden­ti­fied as a “sus­pected com­po­nent of elec­tronic bug­ging”.

Hunt said she had en­gaged De Beer and Im­pey to in­ves­ti­gate and “mon­i­tor against any fu­ture ac­tiv­i­ties tar­geted against my hus­band or my­self”.

PHO­TOS: IAN CAR­BUTT

Ad­vo­cate Cameron Hunt SC.

Ad­vo­cate Penny Hunt.

Ad­vo­cate Mer­gen Chetty.

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