State lawyer, Christina Ramokwena of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP), who was recently convicted for contempt of court by Village Magistrate, Priscilla Ditlhong, has approached the High Court seeking an order setting aside the decision of the lower court.
The Attorney General is cited as the First Respondent while Ditlhong is cited as the Second Respondent.
Ramokwena is represented by Friday Leburu of Sadique Kebonang Attorneys. In their grounds of appeal, the lawyers state that the Magistrate erred in law by summarily committing Ramokwena to prison for contempt.
“The learned Magistrate erred by calling upon the appellant to show cause why appellant cannot be held for contempt, even dealt with the matter summarily. The learned Magistrate erred in fact and in law (as appropriate) for summarily committing the appellant for contempt of court,” state the lawyers in their court papers.┬á
“The learned Magistrate erred in not considering all of the issues raised by the appellant as probable,” said the lawyers. The lawyers also contend that the record of proceedings that Ditlhong relied upon to convict Ramokwena was not an official record envisaged by law.
┬áThey also said Ditlhong erred by proceeding to hear the matter when the court was not properly constituted.
The lawyers want the High Court to set aside Ditlhong’s decision and to pay for the cost of application on a higher scale. Contacted for comment Leburu also revealed that they intend to launch another application, demanding compensation from the AGs and also want Ditlhong to cough up from her pocket.
“Upon receipt of records proceedings and judgment of the lower court, we intend to supplement the grounds of this application,” said Leburu.
Convicting Ramokwena last month, Ditlhong had fined Ramokwena P150, which was to be paid on the same day, failing which she was expected to go to jail for a period not exceeding a month.
In her ruling, the magistrate said Ramokwena’s behaviour had put the integrity of the court in disrepute.
Ditlhong ruled that Ramokwena had failed to show cause why she could not be held in contempt following her earlier detention of March 7, in which a warrant of detention was issued against her for having acted contemptuously.