Namibia: Ex-Judge Loses Appeal in Supreme Court

A HIGH Court judge correctly concluded that his court did not have the jurisdiction to deal with a case in which former Supreme Court judge Pio Teek was trying to sue the minister of justice and the ombudsman for N$6 million.

This was the finding of three current acting appeal judges of the Supreme Court in a judgement in which they have now dismissed Teek's appeal against a decision delivered by High Court judge Herman Oosthuizen in March 2018.

Oosthuizen dismissed Teek's lawsuit against the justice minister and the ombudsman after he found that an earlier case, in which Teek tried to sue South African judges Piet Streicher, Kenneth Mthiyane and Fritz Brand for N$6,8 million, had been bad in law from the start, as the Namibian High Court did not have jurisdiction over the three judges.

Teek appealed to the Supreme Court against Oosthuizen's decision, but acting judges of appeal Jeremiah Shongwe, Ernest Sakala and Moses Chinhengo have now dismissed his appeal with costs.

In a judgement written by Shongwe, and with Sakala and Chinhengo agreeing with his decision, the court concluded that Oosthuizen was correct in finding there was a relationship between Teek's case against the three South African judges and his lawsuit against the justice minister and ombudsman, and also that he was correct when he concluded that the High Court had no jurisdiction to adjudicate on the matter involving the three judges who are not residents of Namibia.

Teek sued the minister and ombudsman after the Ministry of Justice, according to him, failed to assist him to have his lawsuit served on the three judges in South Africa. He also claimed that the ombudsman likewise did not properly assist him when he lodged a complaint about the lack of assistance he had been receiving from the Ministry of Justice.

He lodged a damages claim against Streicher, Mthiyane and Brand in July 2010, claiming the three judges violated his rights to a fair trial and made defamatory remarks about him in an appeal judgement in April 2009, when the Supreme Court set aside his acquittal on six of the eight charges of child abduction and rape which he had been facing in a trial in the Windhoek High Court in 2006.

After the Supreme Court's ruling, Teek's trial continued in the High Court, and again ended with him being found not guilty on the remaining six charges in December 2010.

The state appealed against that verdict, too, but three different acting appeal judges of the Supreme Court finally dismissed that appeal in December 2018.

The saga started near the end of January 2005, when Teek - then a judge of appeal in the Supreme Court - was arrested on charges including counts of child abduction and rape. The charges stemmed from allegations that he had picked up two girls, aged nine and ten respectively, in Katutura in Windhoek on the evening of 28 January 2005, had taken them to his house in the Brakwater area near the city, had given the girls drinks containing alcohol, and had sexually molested them.

Teek denied guilt on all of the charges.

With the charges still pending against him, Teek retired from judicial office in October 2005.

The former judge handled his appeal in person, without legal representation.

The minister of justice was represented by Nixon Marcus, while Natasha Bassingthwaighte represented the ombudsman.

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