General Council of the Bar wants probe of advocate's arrest in Senzo Meyiwa trial

29 April 2022 - 12:29
By Shonisani Tshikalange
Advocate Teffo Malesela just before his arrest in North Gauteng High Court on Thursday.
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE Advocate Teffo Malesela just before his arrest in North Gauteng High Court on Thursday.

The General Council of the Bar of SA (GCB) says the arrest of advocate Malesela Teffo, representing some of the accused in the Senzo Meyiwa trial, showed a “profound disrespect” for the dignity of the court.

The GCB on Friday called for a thorough investigation into the matter by an independent body and for the outcome to be made public without delay.

Craig Watt-Pringle SC, chairperson of the GCB, said: “For SAPS officers to arrest an officer of the high court in the court precinct shows a profound disrespect for the dignity of the court and insensitivity to the impression it creates of the SAPS adopting high-handed tactics to humiliate and intimidate an advocate who happens to be acting against the state on behalf of his clients, the accused.”

Teffo was on Thursday dramatically handcuffed and arrested in the high court in Pretoria after the adjournment of the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial.

Watt-Pringle said as a defence counsel, Teffo was pitted against the investigation conducted by the SAPS.

“He is entitled to do so without any form of hindrance or intimidation from any quarter, least of all from the state. Whether there are good grounds for his arrest is yet to be revealed. If there are grounds for Teffo’s arrest, he ought to have been arrested like any other person,” he said.

The place, timing and manner of Teffo’s arrest created the impression, he said, that it must have been done to humiliate him — or worse, intimidate or harass him.

“Notably, there would be a serious undermining of the rule of law if an officer of the court has been intimidated for defending his clients. There would also be serious implications concerning their right to legal representation and a fair trial. If this inference is justified, it is a profoundly serious matter.”

He said it was improbable that Teffo would be unwilling to present himself at a police station for arrest if called upon to do so — or, failing that, that he could not have been arrested away from the court.


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