Deputy accuses Cape Judge President of gross misconduct in formal complaint
Western Cape High Court judge president John Hlophe has been accused by his deputy of trying to influence the appointment of judges to sway the outcome of cases.
Deputy judge president Patricia Goliath lodged a 14-page complaint with the Judicial Services Commission (JSC), accusing Hlophe of far-reaching “gross conduct”.
The allegations include claims of victimisation, preferential treatment of his wife Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe, and verbal abuse.
Constitutional law professor Pierre de Vos says the allegations reveal deep divisions and tensions at the cape high court,
Clearly, there's serious trouble at the High Court in Cape Town.Pierre de Vos, Claude Leon Foundation Chair in Constitutional Governance - University of Cape Town
This is about more than specific allegations of misconduct, it's really a complete breakdown of personal relationships between senior people in the judiciary.Pierre de Vos, Claude Leon Foundation Chair in Constitutional Governance - University of Cape Town
De Vos says it will be important for Goliath to provide evidence supporting the allegations of gross misconduct as outlined in the Judicial Code of Conduct.
Thereafter, members of the JSC will have to decide whether to remove Hlophe or not.
However, members of the JSC have in the past shown reluctance to act against a fellow judges, de Vos says.
The first question is would any of these allegations, if they are true, amount to gross misconduct in terms of the judicial code of conduct?Pierre de Vos, Claude Leon Foundation Chair in Constitutional Governance - University of Cape Town
If they are true, some of these allegations - like selecting judges to get a specific outcome - would amount to gross misconduct, if proven.Pierre de Vos, Claude Leon Foundation Chair in Constitutional Governance - University of Cape Town
The second question is, if there is gross misconduct, will the Judicial Conduct Tribunal and more importantly, the Judicial Service Commission recommend impeachment or not?Pierre de Vos, Claude Leon Foundation Chair in Constitutional Governance - University of Cape Town
In the past, they have shown reluctance to take strong action against any of the judges implicated in wrongdoing.Pierre de Vos, Claude Leon Foundation Chair in Constitutional Governance - University of Cape Town
Listen to the discussion on Afternoon Drive on John Maytham:
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