High Court judge dresses down ‘ignorant’ ex-magistrate
A BULAWAYO High Court judge yesterday dressed down former regional magistrate Mr Sikhumbuzo Nyathi for wrongfully addressing him as “Your Worship” during a motion hearing.
Justice Francis Bere took offence when Mr Nyathi repeatedly used the term which is reserved for magistrates in the lower courts.
Magistrates of the lower courts are addressed as “Your Worship” while in the higher courts such as the High Court and Supreme Court, the legal term of address for a judge is “My Lord”, “My Lady”, or “Your Lordship” and “Your Ladyship”.
Mr Nyathi, who is now a lawyer at Dube-Banda, Nzarayapenga and Partners, was arguing on behalf a client who is seeking a divorce when the judge reprimanded him for persistently addressing him as “Your Worship.”
Justice Bere appeared to have been baffled by Mr Nyathi for indefatigably addressing him as “Your Worship” and had no kind words for the “disrespectful” former magistrate.
The judge raised his eyes in annoyance a number of times during Mr Nyathi’s argument.
People in the gallery were confused and began asking each other what was wrong with Justice Bere on WhatsApp.
The reason became clear when the judge, apparently fed up, exploded.
“I’m not Your Worship. I graduated from being addressed as ‘Your Worship’ several years ago. In fact, I graduated long before you even contemplated studying for a law degree,” retorted Justice Bere.
The judge’s rebuke drew laughter from other lawyers and people in the gallery. The visibly embarrassed ex-magistrate immediately apologised to the judge before he quickly left the courtroom.
Mr Nyathi was representing Mr Jephias Mhande who is seeking to divorce his wife, Judith, after he allegedly caught her in bed with a police officer at their matrimonial home in Bulawayo’s Emganwini suburb.
The matter was struck off the roll because the papers were not in order.
Mr Nyathi was in March last year suspended after a whistle-blower notified Chief Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe that he had sent a Lupane magistrate, Ms Aelene Munamati, $305 to influence her judgment against Mr Client Hwanda.
He was fired by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) four months later after a disciplinary committee concluded that he was guilty of misconduct.
The case that brought Mr Nyathi’s downfall allegedly involved a bar-fight between a detective from the Criminal Investigations Department and Mr Hwanda who is believed to be a Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) officer.
Ms Munamati eventually convicted Mr Hwanda, jailed him for six months and fined him $300. The former magistrate allegedly sent the $305 via EcoCash to Ms Munamati as he tried to influence her judgment in the case.
Mr Nyathi at one time made headlines when he issued a warrant of arrest against a prosecutor, Ms Paida Zengeni, for failing to turn up for a case.
Ms Zengeni apparently was on leave but Mr Nyathi appeared impatient to get the case concluded as he ordered her arrest.
Last year, Mr Nyathi threatened court reporters in the middle of a judgment claiming that they had misquoted him. — @mashnets.
Minister Ignatious Chombo