Pretoria - An acting judge and senior advocate based in Pretoria is due to face the law following a road rage incident during which a man was stabbed in the neck and left leg last month.
While the National Prosecuting Authority elected not to prosecute the senior member of the legal fraternity, AfriForum decided to take matters further.
The organisation said the spectre of selective prosecution had not ceased – but instead of a politician being shielded from prosecution, it was a senior member of the legal fraternity. AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit has taken up the case of Conrad Pretorius, who was stabbed in the neck and leg and left with life-threatening injuries following the road rage incident.
On August 1, Pretorius and his wife were driving in Menlo Park when they encountered the advocate at an intersection where the traffic lights were not working.
It is alleged that an altercation ensued which resulted in the advocate chasing Pretorius through the streets of the suburb for about 5km before blocking him in a cul de sac.
It is further alleged that Pretorius and the advocate alighted from their vehicles where a confrontation ensued. Pretorius alleges that the advocate stabbed him in the neck with a sharp object. A struggle ensued, and he was also stabbed in the leg. Pretorius managed to get back in his car and drove to the nearest hospital for treatment.
He was hospitalised and discharged almost a week later. While in hospital he filed a criminal complaint of attempted murder against the advocate, but soon discovered that the advocate had filed a criminal complaint against him.
A member of the investigative team, said that despite being arrested and in custody in the holding cells of Hatfield Magistrate’s Court, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) withdrew the case against the lawyer without him appearing in court.
However, the case against Pretorius, who did appear in court, was postponed to September 14.
Pretorius also alleges that the attorney for the advocate, collaborating with the police detective assigned to the case, attempted to intimidate him into agreeing to the mutual withdrawal of both cases.
In a letter to the NPA, head of the Private Prosecution Unit, advocate Gerrie Nel said: “The suspect’s lawyer and the police investigator attempted at the Brooklyn police station to have both matters withdrawn. They have now succeeded in ‘convincing’ the prosecutor to abandon the prosecution of a prima facie case of attempted murder against (the advocate).”
The steps taken to make this matter go away were in vain, Nel wrote. “Our instructions are that our client rightfully demands prosecution and action against the suspect, and the functionaries who made the irrational decision. We accept that this irrational decision will be reconsidered but hold instruction to consider a private prosecution should the NPA decline to do so.
“We shall approach the NPA for a certificate nolle prosequi at the appropriate time.
“The NPA owes society an exposition that will engender trust that transgressors with political connections will not be sheltered from prosecution, and neither will your stature in the legal fraternity unduly protect you from prosecution,” said Nel.