Judicial tribunal finds ‘drunk judge’ Motata should be removed as presiding officer

Judicial tribunal finds ‘drunk judge’ Motata should be removed as presiding officer

- The Judicial Tribunal has found that retired judge Nkola Motata was racist at the scene of a 2007 drunk driving crash and should be removed as a judge

- The tribunal found Motata’s conduct at the scene impinge on and are prejudicial to the impartiality and dignity of the courts

- Motata was also found to have conducted his defence for the drunk driving charge in a dishonest and unethical way which was unbecoming of a judicial officer

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A Judicial Service Commission (JSC) tribunal has found that retired judge Nkola Motata’s racist remarks and the dishonest manner in which he conducted his trial following a 2007 drunk driving car accident could justify his removal as a judge.

The tribunal’s findings, dated 12 April, were made public earlier this week. The tribunal found judge Motata’s conduct at the scene impinged on and are prejudicial to the impartiality and dignity of the courts.

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Judge Motata was also found to have conducted his defence for the drunk driving charge in a dishonest and unethical way which was unbecoming of a judicial officer.

Briefly.co.za gathered that the tribunal said the provisions of section 177(1)(a) of the Constitution should be invoked in this instance. The section states that a judge may be removed from office if the Judicial Service Commission finds that the judge suffers from an incapacity‚ is grossly incompetent or is guilty of gross misconduct.

Judge Motata hit the headlines in January 2007 when he crashed his Jaguar into the wall of Richard Baird's Hurlingham home in Johannesburg and hurled racist remarks at him, which were recorded.

The Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court ruled, during the judge’s drunk driving trial, that he had indeed said the following at the scene: “no boer is going to undermine me… this used to be a white man’s land‚ even though they have more land… South Africa belongs to us. We are ruling South Africa”.

He also swore at the homeowner.

He was later found guilty of drunken driving and fined R20 000. Despite the conviction, judge Motata told the tribunal he did not consider himself drunk at the time of the accident because he only had two glasses of wine.

JSC secretary Sello Chiloane said judge Motata has been provided with a copy of the tribunal’s findings and has been asked to make further submissions if he felt the need. Chiloane said the JSC would consider further submissions with the tribunal’s findings at a later date.

“The JSC is still going to sit on a date to be determined by the Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to consider all submissions and the report by the tribunal‚” Chiloane said.

If the JSC agrees with the tribunal’s findings that judge Motata should be removed, it would submit a motion to the National Assembly, where two-thirds of MPs would have to vote in favour to remove judge Motata.

Judge Motata retired last year, he still receives all the benefits of a retired judge including a salary. He was granted a leave of absence shortly after the accident in 2007 and has not performed his work duties in over 11 years.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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