Mrs X not allowed to give evidence

Zinhle Mapumulo

Zinhle Mapumulo

Nkola Motata, the Pretoria high court judge accused of drunk driving, scored big against the state.

The magistrate denied the state the right to call a mystery witness to testify against him yesterday.

He ruled that it would be prejudicial and an infringement of Motata's right to a fair trial.

Magistrate Desmond Nair said the state knew about the witness before the trial began but failed to get a statement from her.

"It would delay the matter and infringe the accused's right to a speedy trial," he said.

Motata is on trial for drunk driving and defeating the ends of justice after an accident in which he allegedly crashed his Jaguar into the wall of a Hurlingham property in January last year.

Nair questioned the state's commitment to obtain a statement from Mrs X but emphasised that yesterday's ruling was only on Mrs X.

"I am not saying the state should not call additional witnesses after the trial has commenced, but stating that the circumstances must necessitate and justify such a call," Nair added.

The trial continues on Monday.