12 December 2012

Namibia: Teek Stumbles At First Hurdle

Windhoek — Retired Supreme Court Judge Pio Marapi Teek suffered another legal blow when Acting Judge Nicolaas Ndou upheld an exception raised by the respondents in his suit for reimbursement.

Teek is suing the President as the first respondent, the Government of Namibia as the second respondent, the Minister of Justice as the third respondent and the Attorney-General as the fourth respondent for N$6.8 million, which he claims are earnings he has lost and other damages he has suffered as a result of his forced retirement from judicial office in October 2005 for charges including child abduction and rape in early 2005.

The former judge has spent almost eight years since his arrest fighting those charges. He was eventually acquitted and recharged and again acquitted on the charges.

Last week Friday Judge Ndou heard arguments on the application by the respondents on Teek's particulars of claim on the grounds that the High Court has no jurisdiction to review a judgement of the Supreme Court.

Teek argues that Government has done everything in its power to frustrate his civil proceedings against the three judges of appeal who ruled in favour of the State after his first acquittal in the High Court.

South African Judges Piet Streicher, Kenneth Mthiyane and Fritz Brand who wrote the appeal judgement in favour of the State failed in their constitutional and legal duties, and trampled on his fundamental rights, Teek maintains.

According to Teek, the judges simply relied on the prosecution's written arguments and did not bother to read the record of his trial. Judge Ndou said in his judgement delivered yesterday that Teek claims to be offended by passages in the Supreme Court judgement and accuses the Supreme Court of having been biased and corrupt.

He also claims that the proceedings in the Supreme Court were irregular and as a result in breach of his right to a fair trial.

But Judge Ndou noted Article 81 of the Constitution states decisions of the Supreme Court are binding on all other courts and persons in Namibia, unless it is contradicted by the Supreme Court itself or is contradicted by an Act of Parliament lawfully enacted.

Judge Ndou further said that there can be no appeal or review of any judgement or order of the Supreme Court and as such the High Court cannot examine the proceedings of the Supreme Court in order to establish whether the plaintiff's fundamental rights have been infringed.

According to Judge Ndou, while Teek submits that he accepted the ruling of the Supreme Court, the effects of the proceedings instituted by him will result in the High Court examining the judgement of the Supreme Court to determine his claims against the defendants.

According to the judgement, the cumulative effect of this action by Teek defeats the objectives of Articles 78 and 81 of the Constitution and Section 17 of the Supreme Court Act. Judge Ndou also described Teek's lawsuit as "a mere splitting of hairs".

On the matter of costs, Judge Ndou said that as far resources are concerned "we are dealing with a David vs Goliath scenario" and that costs should not be used to gag 'David' in his pursuit of justice.

As a result he ordered each party to bear their own costs.

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