Breyten­bach de­nied ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion on al­le­ga­tions, court hears

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - WEEK­END AR­GUS RE­PORTER

FOR­MER Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Au­thor­ity (NPA) ad­vo­cate Glyn­nis Breyten­bach’s right to pri­vacy was in­fringed dur­ing the in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion into her eth­i­cal con­duct, her de­fence claimed yes­ter­day.

Breyten­bach and her for­mer lawyer Ger­hard Wa­ge­naar are on trial in the Pre­to­ria North Mag­is­trate’s Court on four charges of con­tra­ven­ing the NPA Act and two of de­feat­ing the ends of jus­tice.

Breyten­bach faces two ad­di­tional charges of fraud and per­jury.

Her de­fence ad­vo­cate Barry Roux crit­i­cised NPA in­ves­ti­ga­tor Her­cules Wasser­man for in­fring­ing his client’s right to pri­vacy af­ter be­ing re­quested to hand over her lap­top.

Roux also claimed Wasser­man de­nied Breyten­bach ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion per­tain­ing to al­le­ga­tions made against her for weeks.

“Those doc­u­ments are of a busi­ness di­men­sion and were open to scru­tiny,” Wasser­man told the court. “It is gen­er­ally ac­cepted that when a per­son re­fuses to hand over tools of the trade, we ap­ply for a search and seizure.”

The NPA claimed that, in 2012, Breyten­bach shred­ded pa­pers and wiped clean her lap­top while she was still head of the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s spe­cialised com­mer­cial crimes unit in Pre­to­ria, in vi­o­la­tion of the NPA Act.

Breyten­bach was sus­pended from the NPA on April 30, 2012. She claimed this was done to stop her pros­e­cut­ing for­mer po­lice crime in­tel­li­gence head Richard Md­luli on charges of fraud and cor­rup­tion.

Roux said Wasser­man had al­ready gained ac­cess to Breyten­bach’s emails through the NPA’s server, with­out his client’s knowl­edge.

Roux main­tained the en­tire case against his client was a smoke­screen to get rid of her.

Mag­is­trate Brian Ne­mavhidi post­poned the mat­ter to Monday.

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