May 27, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

General Council of the Bar wants probe of advocate’s arrest in Senzo Meyiwa trial

The General Council of the Bar Association of SA (GCB) says the arrest of lawyer Malesela Teffo, who is representing some of the defendants in Senzo Meyiwa’s trial, shows a “profound disregard” for the dignity of the court .

The GCB on Friday called for a thorough independent investigation into the matter and the immediate publication of the findings.

Craig Watt-Pringle SC, Chairman of the GCB, said: β€œThe arrest by SAPS officers of a High Court official in the judicial district shows a deep disregard for the dignity of the court and an unresponsiveness to the impression created by the SAPS arbitrarily adopting tactics to humiliate and intimidate an attorney who happens to be acts against the state on behalf of his clients, the accused.”

Teffo was dramatically handcuffed and arrested in Pretoria High Court on Thursday after adjourning the murder trial of Senzo Meyiwa.

Watt-Pringle, as defense counsel, said Teffo was pitted against the SAPS investigation.

“He has the right to do so without any form of hindrance or intimidation from any quarter, least of all from the state. It is still unclear whether there are good reasons for his arrest. If there are reasons for Teffo’s arrest, he should have been arrested like any other person,” he said.

The place, time and manner of Teffo’s arrest gave the impression, he said, that this must have been the case was done to humiliate him – or worse, to intimidate or harass him.

“In particular, there would be a serious undermining of the rule of law if a court official were intimidated because he defended his clients. Their right to legal advice and a fair trial would also have serious consequences. If that conclusion is justified, then this is a deeply serious matter.”

He said it was unlikely that Teffo would not be willing to present himself to a police station for arrest if asked to do so – or failing to be arrested outside of court.

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