A lawyer from the State Attorney‘s office received a tongue lashing in his absence in the Gauteng High Court, sitting in Palm Ridge, on Monday for his failure to attend court proceedings.

The lawyer, who was not named, was supposed to be present at the stay of prosecution application which former apartheid security branch member Joao “Jan” Rodrigues had lodged.

Rodrigues is expected to stand trial for the murder of anti-apartheid activist and school teacher Ahmed Timol.

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Judge Ramarumo Monama earlier asked the lawyer to attend court to clarify certain aspects.

Three of the respondents in the case are organs of State and are being represented by the State attorney. They are the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services and the Ministry of Police.

“It was indicated to me that the accused wants to bring an application for the permanent stay of prosecution and there were delays. I then indicated to everybody who is interested to make an application. We have been managing this because justice delayed is justice denied,” said Monama.

The judge pointed out that Rodrigues was complaining about the delays in his case. 

He added: “The State attorney on behalf of the NDPP has not been coming to the party. The matter stood down earlier today and a directive was issued for the State attorney representative to be here in court at 14:00. As we speak, he is not here. I find this unacceptable.

“There was no reason given to me. He sent a text asking if I was still the judge on the matter. After some deliberation and consideration, the criminal matter will be postponed.”

The main criminal case was postponed to April 8 and the application for the stay of prosecution will be heard on March 28 before a full Bench.

“Hopefully, we will receive co-operation from the State Attorney,” the judge added.

A timetable for the filing of papers was set.

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