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Former prosecutor jailed over missing dockets, including drunk driving case

Former public prosecutor Jonas Phosoko was sentenced to five years' imprisonment. Stock image.
Former public prosecutor Jonas Phosoko was sentenced to five years' imprisonment. Stock image.

The National Prosecuting Authority has welcomed the jail term meted out to a former public prosecutor convicted of stealing case dockets.

Jonas Phosoko was sentenced to five years' imprisonment by the Bellville commercial crimes court in Cape Town: three years' imprisonment for theft of a police docket and two years' imprisonment for attempting to defeat the administration of justice.

Elaborating on the charges, Western Cape prosecutions spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said in January 2011, a motorist was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. He was released on bail and warned to appear at the Bellville magistrate's court. The investigating officer sent the docket to the court later that month “but he never received it back from the court”.

A search warrant was obtained to search the property of Phosoko. The docket was found in his house.

In June 2010, a suspect was arrested for possession of dagga weighing 29,182kg at Freedom Farm F90, Bellville.

The former Bellville magistrate's court prosecutor stole the docket for this case from the office of his colleagues.

“The prosecutor later found out that the docket was missing. She asked Phosoko and he denied taking the docket. Given that the docket was missing, the prosecutor was forced to seek a postponement of the case. Phosoko then pretended to look for the missing possession of dagga docket in another courtroom and conveniently found it.”

The senior public prosecutor of the court at the time, Advocate Thango Phangalela, then found out that the accused and Phosoko were in cellular phone communication with each other.

Advocate Derick Vogel argued in aggravation of sentence that the fact that the dagga case docket was removed resulted in the trial against the accused not being able to proceed, which was an attempt to defeat the administration of justice.

Ntabazalila said: “The NPA welcomes the sentence and as confirmation of its commitment to root out corruption.”

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