21 May 2019

South Africa: Stop 'Playing Cat and Mouse' Games, Ford Kuga Inquest Judge Warns Legal Teams

The inquest into what caused the late Reshall Jimmy's Ford Kuga to burst into flames with him inside started with a severe dressing down from the judge to the lawyers for "playing cat and mouse" over evidence.

"Ultimately, it is an inquisitorial process, not adversarial, and it is becoming adversarial," said Western Cape High Court Judge Robert Henney.

This was after Ford's lawyer, advocate Andre Bezuidenhout, complained that the Jimmy family's legal team, led by advocate Gerrie Nel of AfriForum's private prosecution wing, had not handed over all of the photographs taken during investigation.

Nel countered that, although one particular picture had not been included in a collection handed to Ford's legal team, it had been included in a document handed over to Ford a long time ago.

On Monday afternoon, Nel complained that Ford itself had not handed over photographs it was seeking. Henney told both legal teams to give each other what they needed.

"This is not a criminal trial," Henney said on Tuesday.

"Nobody has privilege with regards to evidence in an inquest. And if this is going to happen again, I'm going to use my powers of subpoena," the judge warned.

He said that, regardless of whether witnesses were allegedly being paid by either Ford or the Jimmy family's representative, any evidence belonged to the inquest and had to be handed to the police.

"No one is allowed, for a tactical advantage, to play cat and mouse with each other.

"Even if you have been paid by a party to come to this court, your evidence belongs to this court."

After that Henney tried to lighten the mood when Ford's US expert John Loud needed a pair of scissors to open an evidence bag containing one of the retrieved parts of the Kuga.

He said the team's scissors had been confiscated at security, which made Henney joke that in South Africa there was once a criminal case regarding scissors, and joked that only some of the senior counsel would remember the "scissor murderess" case.

The Jimmy family believe he died due to a defect in the vehicle.

The inquest continues.

Source: News24

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