Judge pleads poverty despite R3,2m pay

NORTH Gauteng high court judge Nkola Motata has spent R1million in his unsuccessful attempt to fight allegations that he had driven drunk.

NORTH Gauteng high court judge Nkola Motata has spent R1million in his unsuccessful attempt to fight allegations that he had driven drunk.

Yesterday he pleaded poverty in the Johannesburg magistrate's court and asked, through his lawyer Advocate Bantubonke Tokota SC, that his sentence be "wholly suspended".

" If the court imposes a heavy fine it is going to be difficult for him to pay. He has suffered that with legal fees," Tokota said.

Motata has earned about R3,2million since he was put on special leave in January 2007.

Said Tokota: "He earns far less than me. I don't even consider going to the bench. I earn 10 times more than he does.

"He has spent about R1million on legal fees and is not in a position to pay a fine.

"He spends no less than R40000 each time he comes to court."

Motata was found guilty of drinking and driving last week.

He crashed his Jaguar into the wall of a residential home in Hurlingham, Johannesburg, while drunk in January 2007.

Following the crash, Motata was put on special leave pending the finalisation of his trial.

Tokota indicated to the court that Motata would be appealing both his conviction and sentence.

A date for the application hearing is expected to be announced next week.

Asked whether this would not cause further financial strain, Tokota said: "It will strain him but it's his right to appeal."

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