Judge President of KZN Chiman Patel might not have had crimen injuria charges leveled against him if his accuser was told how mediation worked. Picture: Supplied
Durban - Had alternative routes been properly explained to a court clerk who in 2013 charged now retired Judge President of KwaZulu-Natal, Chiman Patel, with crimen injuria, she might never have pursued a criminal case against him.

Advocate Richard Salmon on Monday asked Lindiwe Nxele if anyone had, at the time, told her how mediation worked.

She replied that no one had.

“And you didn’t know there was an alternative, where you could meet with the judge?” he said.

“No, I didn’t know about that. If I did, I would have ­accepted,” she replied.

Nxele accused Judge Patel of crimen injuria after, she claimed, he shouted at her, pointed his finger and called her “nonsense, trash, rubbish and useless”, while reprimanding her in his chambers.

On the day his criminal trial was to start, the charges against Judge Patel were withdrawn and he is now suing the State for R3 million for malicious prosecution.

His civil trial got under way in the Durban High Court in December.

After a lengthy adjournment, it resumed on Monday, when Salmon – for Judge Patel – showed Nxele a letter from the Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions, Nomgcobo Jiba, to the provincial DPP, advocate Moipone Noko.

“The matter deals with the process of lodging a complaint against a judge before the Judicial Conduct Committee,” he told the court.

Nxele said advocate Noko had broached the subject with her.

“But you said ‘no’?” advocate Salmon asked.

She replied she had declined because she wanted the chance to “come face-to-face” with Judge Patel.

“I wanted him to apologise to me and to admit that what he said to me was wrong,” Nxele said.

“What upset you was that you thought you wouldn’t be in the same room as the Judge President and that you wouldn’t be involved in the proceedings,” advocate Salmon continued.

Nxele reiterated that all she wanted was for Judge Patel to apologise to her.

Advocate Salmon cited a number of discrepancies in ­ “at least eight” different versions of events Nxele had proffered.

He told the court he would argue that she could not be ­believed nor relied upon.

“And no one corroborates your story,” he said.

Nxele, who has been on the stand since December, broke down on several occasions on Monday.

She said it was painful for her to have to recount the events surrounding her case and that it no longer mattered if anyone believed her or not.

The trial continues.

The Mercury