ATC101123: Report Suspension from office of Magistrate MN Jassiem
Report of the Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Development on the suspension from office of Magistrate MN Jassiem, dated 23 November 2010:
The Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Development, having considered the report on the suspension from office of a magistrate, Mr M N Jassiem, an additional magistrate at Mitchells Plein, Western Cape, tabled by the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development, in terms of the Magistrates Act, 1993 (Act no 90 of 1993), reports as follows:
1. On 9 October 2006, 28 August 2007 and again on 23 November 2009, Mr Jassiem wrote to the Magistrates Commission for approval to run his practice as an attorney whilst permanently appointed as a Magistrate.
2. Mr Jassiem was informed in July 2007 that the Service Conditions Committee of the Commission had resolved to refer the matter to the Magistrates Commission for further consideration.
3. The Commission, on 23 August 2007, resolved not to approve Mr Jassiem’s request to be allowed to practise as an attorney. In September 2001, the Commission informed the Judicial Head of the Administrative Region of its decision and requested the Judicial Head to inform Mr Jassiem.
4. Mr Jassiem was notified of the Commission’s resolution on 21 September 2007.
5. The Commission noted that Mr Jassiem was still practising as an attorney and that he was therefore deliberately in defiance of a decision by the Commission that he not be allowed to practise as an attorney whilst holding the office of Magistrate.
6. The Senior Legal Officer of the Cape Law Society submitted an affidavit, dated 17 September 2009, that:
- Mr Jassiem ceased practising as an attorney on 9 October 2000, but recommenced to practise for own account as MN Jassiem and Associates from 1 November 2006.
- He is the sole partner in the firm.
- There are no other practitioners at the firm, and that he personally applied for a Fidelity Fund Certificate for 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.
- He is in possession of a 2010 Fidelity Fund Certificate, and that he submitted an unqualified trust account audit for the period ending 28 February 2009 for MN Jassiem and Associates.
7. After considering the contents of the affidavit and other correspondence received from the Cape Law Society, the Chairperson of the Commission, on 12 November 2009, requested Mr Jassiem to give reasons why he should not be charged with misconduct for deliberately defying a decision taken by the Commission on 23 August 2007.
8. Mr Jassiem was charged with misconduct on 11 December 2009. The misconduct inquiry commenced on 6 April 2010.
9. Mr Jassiem initially pleaded guilty to the main charge but changed his plea to not guilty after indicating that he never ran any practice as an attorney but was doing conveyancing and estate administration.
10. In his judgment, the Presiding Officer found Mr Jassiem to be dishonest in that he had, on 8 October 2006, misled the Cape Law Society. He had indicated in writing that he had the Commission’s permission to practise as an attorney. He only requested the Commission’s permission on 9 October 2006. He had also misled his Judicial Head of Office in this regard and his conduct therefore showed lack of integrity as an officer of the court.
11. After considering all the evidence presented before him, the Presiding Officer found Mr Jassiem guilty of misconduct on the main count.
12. The Presiding Officer recommended, in terms of the regulation of 26(17)(b) of the Regulations for Judicial Officers in the Lower Courts 1994, that Mr Jassiem be removed from office as contemplated in section 13 of the Magistrates Act.
13. At its meeting held on 26 August 2010, the Commission considered relevant documents as required in terms of regulation 26(22) read with regulation 26(19) of the Regulations for Judicial Officers in Lower Courts, 1994. The Commission resolved to accept the findings of the Presiding Officer and to recommend to the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development to remove Mr Jassiem from office on the grounds of misconduct in terms of section 13(4)(a)(i) of the Magistrates Act, 1993.
The Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Development, having considered the report on the suspension from office of magistrate Mr M N Jassiem, reports that it concurs with the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development and recommends that Mr M N Jassiem be removed from office.
Report to be considered
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