'Motata must go free'

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Pretoria Judge Nkola Motata must be freed, his newly appointed lawyer said.

Advocate Bantubonke Tokota SC said the prosecution had failed dismally to prove that the judge was drunk, negligent and resisted arrest on the night he crashed his car more than two years ago.

He said a star witness called by the prosecution to testify against Motata was racist, a liar, dishonest and a conspirator.

Tokota launched an application to have the case dismissed on Friday at the Johannesburg magistrate's court. He said the court should reject evidence of the complainant and state witness Richard Baird.

"This is the worst witness I have ever experienced. His evidence was so exaggerated," said Tokota.

He said Motata's case was based on nothing else but a conspiracy by certain people to bring him down.

He said Baird, owner of the premises into which Motata allegedly crashed his car in 2007, wanted the judge arrested at all costs and subjected everyone at the scene to enormous pressure.

"Mr Baird surreptitiously recorded selectively what he thought would be incriminating evidence and in the process either contrived at and or omitted what he thought would serve his purpose," he said.

He said Baird's evidence was contradicted by other witnesses, including the police at the scene "leaving him standing alone", said Tokota.

He said another state witness, metro policewoman Paulina Mashilela, told the court that Baird had insulted Motata, but the insults were not recorded.

"She gave evidence which pointed to Mr Baird being a racist who is not shy to hurl racial slanders at the slightest or even no provocation at all. He humiliated him and degraded his dignity by calling him a drunken kaffir," said Tokota.

He said the state's case has collapsed.

"We submit that the accused is entitled to acquittal," he said.

Tokota said other witnesses who let down the state were Metro officer Moatlhodi Daniel Madibo and former Hillbrow chemistry laboratory chief forensic analyst Logan Govender.

Madibo claimed that he could not remember most of what he had said at his previous court appearances because he was involved in a car accident.

Govender admitted that there were numerous mistakes in his calculation, which could have affected the results.

He testified that the register at the laboratory showed that the blood samples were received in December 2006 while the incident occurred in January 2007.

The case has been postponed to June 1 for the state to reply.