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CJ, judge clash over Howe's dismissal

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MBABANE –Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi has questioned the motives of Justice Jacobus Annandale following the termination of the services of David Simelane’s lawyer as pro deo Counsel.

Lucky Howe’s services as pro deo Counsel (a government-hired lawyer) were terminated by the High Court Registrar, Mpendulo Simelane, on October 4, 2010, who cited that he caused delays in the case.

Ramodibedi has faxed, from Lesotho, a memorandum to Annandale complaining that the judge leaked their private discussions in writing to other judges, Howe and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mumcy Dlamini.

He was responding to Annandale’s memorandum, sent through Registrar Simelane.

Annandale said he would no longer allow Howe to represent Simelane as his private attorney after he was instructed by Ramodibedi in a telephone interview last week.

He also said this was despite the fact that it was mentioned in court that David Simelane had instructed Howe as his private attorney.

Ramodibedi expressed concern that Annandale would issue a written memorandum to his ‘own Registrar’, Simelane, in the first place.

"Could this be for ulterior motives? I am reliably informed that the memorandum in question was circulated to particular judges. Only time will tell what the real motive behind your memorandum is," read part of Ramodibedi’s memorandum.

The Chief Justice further stated that it was improper for Annandale to reduce their private discussions into writing and further disseminate such to third parties.

Ramodibedi also said he personally had no interests in the David Simelane case but, as the High Court’s Chief Justice, he has a duty ‘to put a stop to the delaying tactics which have occurred in the past 10 years’.

He said Annandale had also allowed the delays in the matter.

"The Swazi Nation deserves to be treated better by your court.

"As I have said to you in the past and as I repeat for emphasis, unlike in a civil case, a trial judge in a criminal case takes active control of the case. He is not dictated to by attorneys as has happened up to now," Ramodibedi’s memorandum reads in part.

After Howe’s services were terminated, he indicated that he is willing to proceed with the matter. He said David Simelane had instructed him to represent him as a private attorney. On Monday October 11, 2010, in open court, Simelane confirmed that he had instructed Howe to be his private attorney. He also indicated that he did not want a government attorney he did not know.

Registrar Simelane indicated that he has already appointed another pro deo counsel for the accused.

He also told the court that it could decide whether to allow Howe to proceed with representing the accused, but ensure that there was an instrument to prove that he had indeed been instructed by the accused.

Annandale ordered that Howe produces a ‘Power of Attorney’ letter to prove that he had been instructed by Simelane.

He gave Howe until the close of business on Monday to do so, and provide Registrar Simelane with a copy.

However, Howe submitted the letter yesterday.

Lawyers not allowed to provide free legal services - CJ

MBABANE – Lawyers are not allowed to provide free legal services to clients, the Chief Justice has said.

Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi says it is unprofessional conduct, which amounts to touting. He was making reference to accused serial killer David Simelane’s case. He said this in a memorandum directed to the case’s presiding Judge, Justice Jacobus Annandale, raising concern that the matter is being dragged further yet it has been almost 10 years since the alleged crimes were committed.

Ramodibedi said Annandale had pointed out to him that Howe had undertaken to defend David Simelane free of charge.

He said Simelane is at liberty to pay Howe for any service offered.

Ramodibedi also said once the accused has paid Howe, the latter would be at liberty to represent him.

"However, the private instruction must be proper and complete.

"It must not be simulated," Ramodibedi stated adding, "Indeed, bearing in mind that the accused is indigent, it would be surprising that he can suddenly have funds to instruct an attorney."

Responding to Annandale’s decision not to allow Howe to represent Simelane as a private attorney, Ramodibedi said the Judge had failed to convince him that such instructions were proper and complete.

He also stated that Annandale admitted to him over the telephone that he was never shown a receipt to prove that Simelane had paid fees to engage Howe as his private attorney.

"You did not confirm the so-called private instructions from the accused himself," Ramodibedi said in the memorandum.

Some exhibits are missing, says cop

MBABANE – Crown witness, Sergeant Solomon Mavuso yesterday told the court that some exhibits have gone missing.

He was submitting as exhibits some items which were allegedly recovered by the Police during their investigations in suspected serial killer David Simelane’s case. He claimed that Simelane pointed out the places where he had kept the exhibits.

However, when he was handing over the exhibits to be admitted in court, he said some were missing. He had already listed the items while leading evidence in chief, but when he moved out of the witness box, he discovered that some were missing.

"My Lord, some of the exhibits are missing. I do not know what happened to them, but I did mention them," he said.

Mavuso was yesterday leading evidence on the names of some of the people who were discovered dead in different parts of the country. He said the police followed leads which were allegedly given by David Simelane in his statements he made to the police and a judicial officer. He said the clothing he submitted as exhibits before the court were allegedly identified by the deceased’s relatives at the Malkerns Police Station.

He claimed that Simelane told them that one of the deceased was Ntombinkulu Maseko from Ngwempisana in Mankayane. Mavuso claimed that her relatives confirmed that she had been missing. He also alleged that the deceased’s brother, Sabelo Jele, claimed that after her disappearance, a man came to their parental homestead and claimed that he had been sent by the deceased.

"Sabelo Jele said the man told him that he had been sent by the deceased to fetch her portable radio, as they worked together in Matsapha. He also said he could identify the man if he came across him," Mavuso said.

He claimed that Jele and the deceased’s mother, Asinaye Jele, were called to an identification parade at Malkerns Police Station to identify the said man. The matter continues.

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