O’Sullivan case in turmoil
THE intimidation and fraud case against Paul O’Sullivan has seemingly fallen apart, after the complainant said in court she felt she shouldn’t have filed criminal charges against the forensic consultant.
The State is now insisting the magistrate presiding over the case recuse herself, taking her refusal to do so on review.
O’Sullivan was accused of committing fraud during a 2014 interview with a suspect, Alice Johnston, allegedly telling her he was a criminologist who would make sure she would receive a suspended sentence if she confessed to multiple crimes.
In the Randburg Magistrate’s court, Johnston took the stand and, after being shown video footage of the interview, admitted O’Sullivan had not been shouting or trying to intimidate her. She broke down, saying she wished she had not laid the complaint against him.
State advocate Jabulani Mlotshwa immediately asked the court to declare Johnston a hostile witness, which magistrate Gail Pretorius refused to do. Mlotshwa then accused the court of failing in its duties and applied for Pretorius to recuse herself. After the application was argued, Pretorius said she did not feel the need to step down.
On Thursday, Mlotshwa ended proceedings quickly by announcing another motion to have Pretorius’s refusal to recuse herself taken on review. Pretorius said she hoped the review would be completed by October 16, the date on which the trial would continue if she remained as the presiding officer. She also indicated she believed the various applications were a sign of delay tactics by the prosecution – subsequently postponing the case.
Outside court, O’Sullivan said he believed Mlotshwa had been malicious in the series of cases he has prosecuted against him. He believed he had been targeted with “frivolous” criminal cases for his high-profile investigations into powerful local politicians.