O’Sul­li­van case in tur­moil

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - SHAIN GERMANER

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.

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