High Court judge dresses down ‘ig­no­rant’ ex-mag­is­trate

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Mashudu Net­sianda

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

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