Prosecutor convicted of rape worked while on bail‚ after conviction

Prosecutor convicted of rape worked while on bail‚ after conviction.
Prosecutor convicted of rape worked while on bail‚ after conviction.
Image: 123RF Stock Image/ lculig

A KwaZulu-Natal prosecutor who was convicted of rape and defeating the ends of justice has been prosecuting cases while out on bail - and was even spotted at work after the High Court in Pietermaritzburg found him guilty earlier this year.

Our sister publication, The Sunday Times, has learned that Richard Sizwe Buthelezi‚ the former control prosecutor of Dundee Magistrate’s Court in Northern KZN‚ was arrested in 2013 after he forced a young woman who was attending court with her boyfriend to perform oral sex on him‚ in his office at the court.

He also tried to rape her‚ according to court papers. The papers outlined how Buthelezi then tried to bribe his victim and her boyfriend with R3 000 to withdraw the case against him in the days after the incident.

But the couple took the money and delivered it to the investigating officer - who promptly added charges of corruption and defeating the ends of justice to his rap sheet.

Buthelezi’s matter has been set down for sentencing on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Acting Judge Booysen said when delivering his judgement he was unconvinced by the evidence Buthelezi‚ the only witness to testify in his own defence‚ had given before the court.

He had plead not guilty on all charges and told the court that the victim was lying‚ having been forced by her boyfriend to open the case against him.

But despite his conviction on four charges including rape‚ attempted rape and corruption‚ Buthelezi was seen in the Dannhauser Magistrate’s Court - roughly 20 kilometres away - in February‚ just days after his conviction on January 25. Local newspaper Northern Natal Courier reported on spotting Buthelezi at work in Dannhauser Court on February 7.

According to a police source Buthelezi had also prosecuted rape cases at Dannhauser court‚ and spent a few months prosecuting at the neighbouring town of Glencoe while out on bail.

“He’s arrogant‚” said the police officer‚ who is close to the Dundee Family Violence‚ Child Protection and Sexual Offences unit who investigated Buthelezi‚ speaking on condition of anonymity. “After he was arrested he got bail and was suspended for some time. But he was reinstated. One of his bail conditions was that he is not allowed in the Dundee district. He was reinstated and spent a short time at Glencoe and then he went to Dannhauser.”

“The worst part of it all is that he also does rape cases.”

Buthelezi was released on R5 000 bail in August 2013 after being arrested in May of the same year.

When contacted on Thursday‚ Buthelezi referred queries to his legal counsel‚ who declined to comment as the matter was “sub judice”.

According to National Prosecuting Authority’s spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku‚ Buthelezi has worked in various courts as a prosecutor since 2003. He was appointed to Dannhauser Magistrate’s Court in May 2017 and according to Mfaku‚ he has been suspended without pay after his conviction.

The NPA and Buthelezi failed to answer questions over the exact date of his latest suspension or why he was in court subsequent to being found guilty in January.

“There is no reason to initiate any review [of cases Buthelezi prosecuted since 2013] because there is no suspicion or any complaints received regarding the [possible] flouting of legal processes by him‚” Mfaku said.

Mfaku could not provide the exact number of cases Buthelezi had prosecuted since the start of criminal investigations in 2013‚ save to say that he had prosecuted “many cases” between 2013 and 2018.

The NPA also failed to answer questions on whether it was standard practice for prosecutors to be placed on leave pending criminal investigations against them‚ or if prosecutors were allowed to work while out on bail.

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