ATC111116: Report Provisional suspension from office of Mr P S Hole, Regional Magistrate at Kimberley
Report of the Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Development on the provisional suspension from office of Mr P S Hole, Regional Magistrate at Kimberley, dated 16 November 2011:
The Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Development, having considered the report on the provisional suspension of a magistrate, Mr P S Hole, a Regional Magistrate at Kimberley, tabled by the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development, in terms of the Magistrates Act, 1993 (Act no 90 of 1993), reports as follows:
- The Regional Court President, Mr K Nqadala, of the Northern Cape region, received enquiries via the Chief Magistrate, Kimberley, from Social Worker, Ms Liesel Vermeulen of Molehe Mampe Secure Care Centre about progress on certain cases, including cases RCZ 856/2009 and RCZ 641/2010
- On the l7 May 2011, Mr Nqadala forwarded copies of the said enquiries to Mr Hole and all other regional court magistrates within his region. Mr Hole raised an objection to the disclosure of these enquiries to him.
- On 7 June 2011 Mr Hole caused a matter, case RCZ 856/2009 — State v P Loeto, which was no longer on his roll, to be placed before him. Mr Hole subpoenaed the Regional Court President, Mr Nqadala, to provide evidence in respect of the charge on which the accused was appearing in a case where the Regional Court President was not involved and could not provide any evidence.
- Mr Hole, by taking up the matter of his objection to the disclosure of the enquiries from the Regional Court President in public, and using the court as a platform, caused the Regional Court President, Mr Nqadala, to be ridiculed in public. The court transcripts revealed the following: “Court: You will recall, Mr Nqadala, that I objected to you writing to me among other persons in this fashion.".
- Mr Hole questioned his Head of Office’s qualifications and whether he knew the meaning of an accused’s right to a fair trial. He further questioned his Head of Office’s understanding the residual rights of an accused person and whether Mr Nqadala thought it fair to include a letter that disclosed information that painted the accused in a bad light.
- The Magistrates Commission at its meeting on 22 July 2011, considered the contents of various complaints received during July 2011 from the Regional Court President, Mr Nqadala, regarding Mr Hole.
- The complaints refer, inter alia, to the following, amongst others:
7.1 A transcript of the court proceedings in case no. RCZ 856/2009 —- State v P Loeto and others in which Mr Hole presided on 7 July 2011, when Mr K M Nqadala was summoned to appear in his court,
7.2 A transcript of the court proceedings in case RCZ 641/2010 ·— State v Mbalula and Others in which Mr Hole presided on 7 June 2011 in the absence of the accused. The transcript indicates that Magistrate V S Smith remanded the case on 6 June 2011 to 20 June 2011. There is, however, no indication on the transcribed record as to why the case was enrolled on his court roll on 7 June 2011.
7.3 The transcript of the court proceedings in case RCZ 641/2010 further indicates that Mr Hole presided in the matter on 7 July 2011, while Magistrate V Smith remanded the case on 20 June 2011 to 11 July 2011. There is, again however, no indication on the transcribed record as to why the case was enrolled on his court roll on 7 July 2011.
7.4 The transcript of the court proceedings in case RCZ 641/2010 furthermore indicates that Mr Hole presided over the matter on 12 July 2011, while the case had been remanded on 11 July 2011 to 14 and 15 December 2011 by Magistrate V Smith. There is no indication on the transcribed record as to why the case was enrolled on his court roll on 12 July 2011 when he had formally recused himself from the case while the case was not properly before him for trial.
7.5 The transcriptions in case no. RCZ 856/2009 — State v P Loeto and Others and case no. RCZ 641/2010 — State v Mbalula and Others contain various remarks, utterances and discussions by Mr Hole which, in the Commission’s view, inter alia displayed an abuse of judicial power; as well as discussions, remarks and comments on matters pertaining to the magistrates’ profession in a manner which brought the judiciary into disrepute, which was detrimental to the image of the office of magistrate and which did not uphold and promote the good name, dignity and esteem of the office of magistrate and the administration of justice.
- In order to advise the Minister on his provisional suspension from office pending the outcome of the investigation, Mr Hole was afforded the opportunity to comment on the intention of the Magistrates Commission to provisionally suspend him.
- Mr Hole responded in writing on 29 August 2011. At its meeting held on 17 September 2011, the Commission, having considered Mr Hole’s response dated 29 August 2011, resolved to recommend that Mr Hole be provisionally suspended from office in terms of section 13(3)(a)
Recommendation to provisionally suspended magistrate
1. The Commission is of the view that the transcribed court proceedings present reliable evidence indicating that the allegations against Mr Hole are of such a serious nature as to make it inappropriate for him to perform the functions of a magistrate while the allegations are being investigated.
2. The Minister concurred with the Commission’s recommendation to provisionally suspend Magistrate P S Hole, in terms of section 13(3)(a) of the Magistrates Act, pending the outcome of the investigation into his fitness to hold office.
The Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Development, having considered the report on the provisional suspension from office of magistrate Mr P S Hole, a Regional Magistrate at Kimberley, reports that it concurs with the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development and recommends that the National Council of Provinces confirms the provisional suspension from office with remuneration.
Report to be considered.
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