Suspended advocates may get the chop

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Johannesburg - The Supreme Court of Appeal was on Monday due to hear the case of seven Pretoria advocates who survived the chop for swindling the Road Accident Fund of millions of rand.

The General Council of the Bar is challenging a Pretoria High Court decision to suspend the seven advocates for up to six months when six others were struck off the roll.

The council believes that advocates Brenton Geach SC, Don Williams SC, Stef Güldenpfennig, Mark Upton, Ephraim Seima, Cassie Jordaan and Colin van Onselen should also be struck off.

The seven advocates were suspended for periods ranging from three weeks to six months, with the three retired judges who presided over the matter giving them a year to repay the RAF.

While retired judges Kees van Dijkhorst, William de Villiers and Piet Combrinck found the lawyers had acted improperly, they ruled they had not amassed millions from double-claiming, saying they could be rehabilitated.

But their colleagues - Thillay Pillay, Theunis Botha, Toy de Klerk, Percy Leopeng, Daniel Mogagabe and French Bezuidenhout - were not so lucky. The six advocates had their names struck off the roll last year, in addition to a ruling ordering them to repay more than R15.6 million.

On handing down judgment on the double-briefing and overcharging of the RAF, the judges said the advocates had brought “the good name of their profession into disrepute” when they decided to “mount the steed of greed”.

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