spotlight on foul-mouth recordings

The Johannesburg magistrate's court yesterday heard a recording of Judge Nkola John Motata swearing after he crashed into a residential security wall, allegedly while drunk.

The Johannesburg magistrate's court yesterday heard a recording of Judge Nkola John Motata swearing after he crashed into a residential security wall, allegedly while drunk.

"We'll repair the damage," the judge was heard telling businessman Richard Baird's tenant. "It's not a problem."

"But he [Baird] must not degrade me. No Boer is going to undermine me. F**k him. He musn't insult me. F**k him. I don't care," Motata said in the recording Baird made on an I-Mate cellphone.

The court heard all five audio recordings made at the scene of Motata's car accident in Johannesburg in January last year and an interpreter was called to translate the Setswana and Sesotho on some of the recordings.

Under cross-examination defence counsel Danie Dorfling queried the originality and quality of the recordings.

"We will call in our information technology law expert, Professor Dana van der Merwe, to advise us in court on the technical aspects raised today," he said.

It emerged in court that the audio recordings played were an "encrypted version" stored in a separate "working folder" on Baird's laptop on September 23 last year.

But Baird said he had stored the recordings in the folder for the court proceedings.

Dorfling argued that an earlier copy of the recordings, stored in the "first generation" folder (September 27 2007) predated the "working folder".

"Why was the digital camera clip replaced by the cellphone recordings?" he asked

Baird said he had switched to his cellphone because the camera's flash was not working.

Motata was charged with drunken driving and defeating the ends of justice after smashing his Jaguar into the wall of Baird's Hurlingham, Johannesburg, property. Motata's bail was extended.

The trial continues. - Sapa

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