The national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) has been ordered to reinstate criminal charges and disciplinary action against former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.
The High Court in Pretoria on Monday set aside an NDPP decision to withdraw criminal charges against him.
It also set aside a decision by the national police commissioner to reinstate Mdluli as head of crime intelligence.
“The decision made on February 2012 by first respondent (NDPP) in terms criminal charges of murder, kidnapping, intimidation and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and defeating the ends of justice is hereby reviewed and set aside,” said Judge John Murphy.
“The decision made on March 31, 2013 by or on behalf of 2nd respondent (national police commissioner) whereof 5th respondent (Mdluli) was reinstated as head of criminal intelligence in the SA Police Service with effect from March 31, 2012 is hereby reviewed and set aside.”
Murphy said charges should be reinstated against Mdluli “without delay”.
“The first and third respondents (NDPP and head of specialised commercial crime unit respectively) are ordered to reinstate forthwith the criminal charges which were instated against the 5th respondent (Mdluli) under case number 155/07/2011 and case number 340/02/99 and to take such steps as are necessary to ensure that criminal proceedings for the prosecution of the criminal charges under the aforesaid cases are re-enrolled and prosecuted diligently and without delay.”
Also, the national police commissioner had to “without delay” take steps to reinstate disciplinary charges against Mdluli.
“The 2nd respondent (national police commissioner) is ordered to reinstate disciplinary charges which had been instituted against 5th respondent (Mdluli) but were subsequently withdrawn on February 29, 2012 and to take such steps as are necessary to institute or reinstate disciplinary proceedings that are necessary for the prosecution and finalisation of the aforesaid disciplinary charges, diligently and without delay.”
The application for a review and the setting aside of the decision to withdraw criminal and disciplinary charges against Mdluli was brought by lobby group Freedom Under Law (FUL).
The police, commercial crime unit, and safety and security minister were also ordered to pay the costs of the Mdluli case by the High Court in Pretoria.
“The first, second, third, and sixth respondents (NDPP, national police commissioner, head of specialised commercial crime unit, and minister of safety and security - in order) are ordered to pay the costs of this application jointly and severally, the one paying the others to be absolved on the basis that the applicant’s attorneys and counsel appear pro bono,” Murphy ordered.
Mdluli was suspended amid charges of fraud and corruption, and charges relating to the murder of his ex-lover's husband.
An inquest cleared him of any involvement in the murder. The National Prosecuting Authority later withdrew charges of fraud and corruption. He was reinstated, but again suspended in 2012 pending FUL's application.
Murphy said: “The decision made on or about 5 or 6 December 2011, as the case may be, by the 3rd respondent (Head of specialized commercial crime unit) in terms of criminal charges of fraud, corruption, and money laundering instituted against the 5th respondent (RM) were withdrawn is hereby reviewed and set aside.”
Laurance Hodes SC, for the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) argued in court earlier this month that instead of “marching off to court”, FUL should have sought the review from the NDPP.
Hodes said the Mdluli matter had been provisionally withdrawn, which did not amount to a discontinuation of the prosecution process.
Decisions on whether to prosecute lay with the NDPP, not with courts, Hodes argued. - Sapa