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NPA deny bungling deaf man’s case

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Published Jun 14, 2016

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Johannesburg - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has denied that it failed to place back on the roll the matter of a deaf man whose attacker was let go without being prosecuted.

This was after the victim’s father found out last week when he went to court that the case was still not on the roll, despite promises by the NPA to ensure his deaf son received justice.

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The Star had reported how the prosecutor removed the matter from the roll, saying it would be difficult to prosecute.

However, Tumi*’s father, Thabo*, said the prosecutor did not even know that the matter had to be put back on the roll. This infuriated Thabo, who said he was tired of running after the NPA in a bid to ensure that his son gets justice.

NPA spokeswoman Phindi Louw, however, denied that, saying Tumi’s case was placed back on the roll on May 26, as per the instructions of the deputy director of public prosecutions.

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“The J175 was issued on May 26 for first appearance on June 21. It has been confirmed by Ms Singh that the accused was indeed served with the said J175. The allegation by the father are therefore incorrect,” she said.

The senior public prosecutor at Meadowlands Magistrate’s Court and the prosecutor handling Tumi’s matter had withdrawn the charges against the woman alleged to have pepper-sprayed and assaulted the 36-year-old man.

But Thabo said he was informed that the charges were withdrawn as proceedings would have been difficult because Tumi was deaf and did not understand sign language.

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Tumi became deaf 13 years ago and never learnt sign language.

The Star in turn contacted Louw, who said the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions had intervened and that instructions had been given to the Meadowlands court to place the matter back on the roll.

When days went by without anyone informing Thabo and Tumi if the matter had been placed back on the roll, Thabo went to court on Wednesday to find out what was going on.

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He said he was dumbfounded to find that there had been no movement in his son’s case, despite Louw’s promise. He added that the prosecutor did not know anything, so he fetched a copy of The Star that had carried the story to show that the NPA had given an undertaking to reinstate the case.

“You could tell he was surprised by what he read. He said he did not know the case had to be reinstated. I then said to him: Does this mean that to get justice we have to run after you?'“

Louw said the case had been placed back on the roll with instructions from the chief pro-secutor to move it to Lenasia.

*Not their real names

botho.[email protected]

The Star

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