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Media bids to cover Breytenbach disciplinary hearing

Publish date: 19 June 2012
Issue Number: 3059
Diary: Legalbrief Today
Category: General

The disciplinary hearing of suspended NPA prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach gets under way today, with the first item on the agenda being a request by lawyers acting for Media24 publications City Press, Rapport, Beeld, Die Burger and Volksblad for access to the hearing based on the 'extensive public interest' the matter has generated.

The group wants its journalists to be present when evidence is led, notes a Beeld report. Tim du Plessis, head of Afrikaans titles, said that should the application be dismissed by the hearing's chairperson, Advocate B Madolo, the group 'will consider further urgent steps'. NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga yesterday maintained the hearing was 'an internal affair'. Lawyers for Media24 argued that the interest in Breytenbach's suspension and hearing stems from the fact that it is linked to the Lieutenant-General Richard Mdluli matter and her opposition to a decision to withdraw criminal charges against Mdluli. Breytenbach faces 25 charges, including being 'unethical,' 'seriously negligent and prejudiced' and making 'false statements' about the NPA. Advocates W Mokhari SC and M Zulu from the Johannesburg Bar are to lead evidence on behalf of the NPA. Full Beeld report

The NPA, though, insists the matter has nothing to do with Mdluli. According to Mhaga, Breytenbach is accused of abusing her power in a probe into a fraud charge laid by iron ore mining company Kumba against Imperial Crown Trading, and of not following orders to stop the investigation, notes a report on the News24 site. The NPA rejected media speculation that the hearing was related to dropped fraud and murder charges against Mdluli. Full report on the News24 site