8 January 2007

South Africa: 'Drunk' Judge's Amazing Outburst

A High Court judge's astonishing, foul-mouthed outburst is captured in a cellphone recording made shortly after his silver Jaguar crashed through the wall of a house in a Johannesburg suburb.

A witness at the scene described Mr Justice Nkola Mo-tata as "drunk, argumentative, loud and swearing like a trooper" when he was arrested for drink-driving at the weekend.

Motata denies this. On the contrary, he told the Sunday Times in an interview the next day: "I wasn't drunk at all ... I had been with one of my colleagues earlier that night drinking tea."

One cellphone picture shows Motata slumped in the driver's seat.

Another shows the damage to the wall and electric fence of the Hurlingham property.

A witness, who did not want to be named, said the judge had refused to take a breathalyser test, ignored Metro Police pleas to co-operate and refused to get out of his car.

Johannesburg Metro Police and the SAPS would say only that an official of the Justice Department had been charged with drink-driving and malicious damage to property, and had been released on R1 000 bail after a night in the Parkview police cells.

"He will appear in court soon," provincial police spokesman Director Govindsamy Mariemu-thoo said today.

The witness said he realised the driver was a judge when he looked into the boot of the car, flung open by the crash.

"There were some files visible addressed to Judge Motata and also some official SAPS files."

The witness took pictures of the judge and recorded discussions with him on his cellphone.

On the recording Motata says: "I know the law. Ja, you mustn't look at me as a black man. Let me go before the law. F*** him. F*** him. Anybody who insults me, I say f*** you."

The owner of the home whose wall was struck says: "Who's insulting you?"

Judge: Listen ...

Home owner: You have to answer the question if you're making an accusation ...

Judge: Ah, f*** you! Please.

Home owner: You're being disrespectful to me.

Judge: Ah, I don't care about you.

Home owner: I'm the owner of the house. I've come here to see what damage you've done.

Judge: Ja. F*** off.

The two then argue for some time about an alleged insult.

Home owner: I don't think anybody has insulted you.

Judge: ... What do you say when I got out of my car? Don't think I'm a fool.

Home owner: What did I say?

Judge: You say: 'This drunken person'.

Home owner: It is my opinion that you are drunk, yes, because you smell of alcohol, you've driven through my wall ...

Judge: You talk rubbish!

The transcript and audio clips are posted on the Sunday Times website at www.sundaytimes.co.za

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