Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said the arrest of anyone, let alone a legal practitioner, in a courtroom was unacceptable and should not happen.
Zondo made the comment after the arrest of attorney Malesela Teffo in the tower block in court last Thursday in Pretoria, where he represented four of the defendants in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial.
Zondo said SABC asked for his comment on Teffo’s arrest that day, but he did not see it the footage of the incident and had no information about it at the time. He indicated he could not comment on the matter.
However, on Tuesday, Zondo said, “There was no valid reason why the SAPS could not have waited for Attorney Teffo to enter the courtroom and the Court left premises before arresting him.
“After all, as far as I understand the arrest warrant had been issued about two months earlier and it would have made no difference to wait for Teffo to leave the court premises had. ”
Zondo lamented the conduct of the police.
“The conduct of the SAPS in conducting the arrest in the courtroom and the manner in which the arrest was made with a legal practitioner and , on a court official, was therefore an affront to the dignity of the court and the judiciary.
“A court official was arrested in a manner that was totally unacceptable and disrespectful of the judiciary,” Zondo said.
He said the Constitution obliges all state organs, including the police, through legislative and other measures, to “assist and protect the courts, to ensure the independence, impartiality, dignity, accessibility and effectiveness of the courts to guarantee”. was arrested or not. It was about where the arrest was made and the manner in which it was carried out.
Zondo said he hopes the police will make sure there are no similar incidents in the future give more.
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