Reverend Dolley-Major leaves her rape tribunal feeling bullied
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Cape Town - The Diocesan tribunal into the alleged rape of Reverend June Dolley-Major has been slammed as “nothing but a farce” as it was supposed to get under way at the St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town on Monday.
Dolley-Major said she felt “bullied'' at Monday’s proceedings involving Reverend Melvin Booysen, where her attorney, appointed by the church, was not in attendance due to testing positive for Covid-19 during last week.
According to Dolley-Major, no consultation had been held with her prior to proceedings, despite Booysen’s counsel being advised of her attorney taking ill ahead of time.
Dolley-Major said she was “very upset and deeply hurt” with how proceedings went, adding that it made her feel as if she had “no voice”.
“As I said from the start, this tribunal is an absolute farce. It’s a joke and was an absolute mockery. On Friday, my attorney, who was chosen for me, informed (the other parties) about it. I was not informed that the woman who was supposed to represent me is Covid positive ... They then had a meeting without consulting me, that the tribunal would go ahead on July 21,” said Dolley-Major.
According to Dolley-Major, she would be unavailable on the dates chosen by the tribunal as she had committed to a victim support training workshop.
“Even though it is about me laying a charge, once again I feel bullied. The system is bullying me. I had no say, I had no voice. I am being silenced once again ... I am deeply hurt and disappointed. I could feel I was not welcome in that space and it is not a safe space,” said Dolley-Major.
Booysen’s counsel submitted that dealing with the matter as soon as possible is in the interests of justice, and while it was impossible to continue with the matter yesterday, they argued a further delay would result in Booysen suffering prejudice adding that “training is something that can be postponed and this tribunal should take precedence”.
Presiding officer Bishop Peter Lee, in his preliminary remarks, said: “This is an important matter and one which has already enjoyed a degree of publicity and caused a good deal of grief. We appeal to the public to respect the process and allow the tribunal to do its job. Justice will not be served if we are subjected to pressure or bombarded with calls for interviews. Leave us alone and let us do what we are called to do …
“We have to ensure the process remains fair. There has already been a fair amount of criticism in the media regarding the pace of this matter. We ask the public to back off and allow us a bubble of our own,” said Lee.
Speaking to the prospect of a postponement due to Dolley-Major’s prior commitments, Lee said this was not possible.
Addressing Dolley-Major, Lee said: “You need to make a plan. This tribunal has been your priority commitment and you need to organise your life to be here.”
Lee had also told all parties to not instigate any pressure that could influence the tribunal’s perception.
“Do not make public pronouncements or motivate campaigns if it seeks to influence the panel, (it) could lead to sanctions against you. We ask you to switch it off and leave it switched off until we meet again,” said Lee.
The matter was postponed to July 21.