Sensational start to 2020 legal year

Few South African courts have yet issued judgments this year, but the legal world is far from bored. A sensational affidavit, sworn by the deputy judge president of the high court in Cape Town, Patricia Goliath, has thrown open the tensions among judges of the Western Cape High Court, and, most particularly, the alleged abuse of power, racism and unconstitutional behaviour of that court’s judge president, John Hlophe. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Western Cape High Court Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath has sent her complaint in the form of an affidavit to the Judicial Service Commission. She asks that the commission investigate her allegations, almost all of which relate to the behaviour of the judge president of the division, John Hlophe, and his wife, Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe.

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World Day against the Death Penalty – editorial

Our lead story this week is the most extraordinary tale of one man’s devotion to judicial independence. It is about a judge in Thailand who decided on death rather than dishonouring his oath of office. But, like the two other stories, it is also about the death penalty.

Judge Khanakorn Pianchana had found he should acquit the accused on trial before him. Before he could deliver his judgment, however, the chief judge ordered him to change his verdict: Instead of acquittal, three of the accused were to be sentenced to death; the other two to life imprisonment. Had he agreed to this, not only would he have violated his oath of office in obedience to political demands, he would also have sent three people to death row, unconvinced that they were guilty.

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Thai judge shoots himself in court: protest at ‘political interference’

When Thai judge Khanakorn Pianchana reached the end of the judgment in a case he had been hearing, he read out a statement. He next walked from the bench to bow before a portrait of Thai King, Maha Vajiralongkorn. Then he took a pistol from his pocket and shot himself. He was immediately rushed to hospital where he is now reported as out of danger. But what caused the judge to take such dramatic and potentially fatal action?

The case before Judge Khanakorn Pianchana involved five people charged with offences including murder, illegal association and certain gun-related offences. They were arrested two months after the shooting of five people in the remote Bannang Sata district. Three of the accused were charged with the murders and the remaining two with being accomplices.

Read more

Sensational start to 2020 legal year

Few South African courts have yet issued judgments this year, but the legal world is far from bored. A sensational affidavit, sworn by the deputy judge president of the high court in Cape Town, Patricia Goliath, has thrown open the tensions among judges of the Western Cape High Court, and, most particularly, the alleged abuse of power, racism and unconstitutional behaviour of that court’s judge president, John Hlophe. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Western Cape High Court Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath has sent her complaint in the form of an affidavit to the Judicial Service Commission. She asks that the commission investigate her allegations, almost all of which relate to the behaviour of the judge president of the division, John Hlophe, and his wife, Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe.

Read more

World Day against the Death Penalty – editorial

Our lead story this week is the most extraordinary tale of one man’s devotion to judicial independence. It is about a judge in Thailand who decided on death rather than dishonouring his oath of office. But, like the two other stories, it is also about the death penalty.

Judge Khanakorn Pianchana had found he should acquit the accused on trial before him. Before he could deliver his judgment, however, the chief judge ordered him to change his verdict: Instead of acquittal, three of the accused were to be sentenced to death; the other two to life imprisonment. Had he agreed to this, not only would he have violated his oath of office in obedience to political demands, he would also have sent three people to death row, unconvinced that they were guilty.

Read more

Thai judge shoots himself in court: protest at ‘political interference’

When Thai judge Khanakorn Pianchana reached the end of the judgment in a case he had been hearing, he read out a statement. He next walked from the bench to bow before a portrait of Thai King, Maha Vajiralongkorn. Then he took a pistol from his pocket and shot himself. He was immediately rushed to hospital where he is now reported as out of danger. But what caused the judge to take such dramatic and potentially fatal action?

The case before Judge Khanakorn Pianchana involved five people charged with offences including murder, illegal association and certain gun-related offences. They were arrested two months after the shooting of five people in the remote Bannang Sata district. Three of the accused were charged with the murders and the remaining two with being accomplices.

Read more