Gwala court slams re­tired ad­vo­cate

Zululand Observer - Monday - - ZO NEWS - Or­rin Singh

I have a soft heart… I will not leave him alone

THE CASE against al­leged rhino poach­ing ‘king­pin’ Du­misani Gwala and his co ac­cused has been post­poned to 12 De­cem­ber to al­low Gwala to se­cure le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tion. The air was thick with ten­sion as a heavy po­lice contin­gency kept a watch­ful eye on pro­ceed­ings both in and out­side the Mtu­batuba Re­gional Court where Gwala, to­gether with his co ac­cused, Wise­man Makeba and Aubrey Dlamini, ap­peared on Thurs­day. Con­fu­sion seemed to be the or­der of the day when pro­ceed­ings be­gan, as the state raised an is­sue re­gard­ing the ad­mis­sion of Gwala’s new ad­vo­cate. Re­tired Ad­vo­cate, Mar­i­anna Ni­chol­son of Mpumalanga - who the ZO un­der­stands had been in­tro­duced to the case by Gwala’s pre­vi­ous at­tor­ney dur­ing pre-trial in June as the ad­vo­cate who would rep­re­sent Gwala pro bono – was grilled in the morn­ing af­ter the state in­formed the court that she was not en­rolled as an ad­vo­cate and there­fore had no right to ap­pear on be­half of Gwala. Ni­chol­son, who sat in the pub­lic gallery, was thor­oughly ques­tioned by Mag­is­trate Zungu re­gard­ing the le­gal­ity of her ap­pear­ance. She in­formed the court that Gwala had phoned her on Tues­day evening and told her that his at­tor­ney at the time, Nom­pumelelo Linda, failed to ap­pear in court and rep­re­sent him on Mon­day. ‘I was asked if can please come down and rep­re­sent Mr Gwala. ‘I said my ser­vices were ter­mi­nated and not re­quired any­more. ‘I said to Mr Gwala I will come down to see what we can do – I have a soft heart,’ she said. This in­fu­ri­ated Mag­is­trate Zungu who told Ni­chol­son that she does not want to know about her heart, to which Ni­chol­son replied: ‘I will not leave him alone.’ Mag­is­trate Zungu then turned her at­ten­tion to Gwala who said he did not know Ni­chol­son was re­tired and that she could not rep­re­sent him. He pleaded for yet another post­pone­ment, cit­ing that if the court wanted jus­tice to be served it needed to al­low him the op­por­tu­nity to find another at­tor­ney. Gwala fur­ther in­formed the court that he was not de­lib­er­ately de­lay­ing the case and that the is­sue of Ni­chol­son’s cre­den­tials was out of his hands and not his fault. The state in the mean­time did not op­pose the idea of post­pone­ment and noted that un­like pre­vi­ous de­lays in the case, this is­sue was dif­fer­ent. ‘It ap­pears that from all an­gles, most de­lays are caused due to with­drawals of at­tor­neys, how­ever, to­day is a dif­fer­ent sce­nario. ‘Ac­cused 2 (Gwala) would not have known of this predica­ment and the court should grant the post­pone­ment,’ said Mrs Mcambi of the prose­cut­ing team. De­spite this, Mcambi high­lighted that an in­quiry in terms of Sec­tion 342(b) of the Crim­i­nal Pro­ce­dure Act should be held so that the court could es­tab­lish who is caus­ing the de­lay. Fol­low­ing a short con­fer­ral Mag­is­trate Zungu said she had no choice but to grant the post­pone­ment in re­la­tion to a tech­ni­cal­ity that the le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tive (Ni­chol­son) had no cre­den­tials and could not ap­pear. ‘I am go­ing to mon­i­tor the progress of this mat­ter. ‘On the next oc­ca­sion, ac­cused 2 must come with a le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tive. ‘I also re­quire doc­u­men­ta­tion that the per­son is a prac­tic­ing at­tor­ney to en­sure when this mat­ter is set down for trial, this does not hap­pen again,’ said Zungu. Gwala, Makeba and Dlamini face a com­bined 10 charges re­lat­ing to the il­le­gal pur­chase and pos­ses­sion of rhino horn‚ and of re­sist­ing ar­rest.

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