Prosecution submits evidence against former magistrate

04 Feb 2019 16:00pm
WINDHOEK, 04 FEB (NAMPA) – The prosecution on Monday commenced with presentations of evidence for judgement in the case of a magistrate who is charged with multiple counts of alleged corruption and fraud.
Melanie Theron, who is now suspended from her position as magistrate, has already denied all the 17 counts of the charges levelled against her at the start of her trial which kicked off before High Court Judge Nate Ndauendapo last year.
In his submissions for judgement on Monday, State Advocate Simba Nduna said the prosecution has presented prima facie evidence showing that the magistrate had indeed corruptly used her office or position for gratification, and fraudulently concealed an offence which is also an offence under the Anti-Corruption Act.
He added that there is undisputed evidence before court that Theron corruptly solicited or accepted or agreed to accept a number of bribes from traffic offenders, and in the process defeating or obstructing the course of justice.
Nduna said the State has presented evidence showing that a number of traffic charges were withdrawn against the offenders without them appearing before court.
Theron, he pointed out, made various false entries in court record books and imposed warnings or cautions instead of fines while she fully knew that none of the offenders had appeared in court.
“The proceedings of the court had never happened and entries she made into the court record books were just false entries to enable the accused to cover her tracks,” he further stressed.
The prosecutor went on to say that several State witnesses also confirmed before court during trial that charges were withdrawn against them while they never appeared before court.
“The accused’s defence that the entries into the court record books were correct and made procedurally are just lame excuses to mislead the court,” said Nduna.
Theron was arrested in August 2011 on charges of corruption, fraud, bribery and extortion and these offences are alleged to have been committed at the Oshakati Magistrate’s Court, where she was stationed between 26 May 2011 and 15 August 2011.
The former magistrate is alleged to have accepted amounts of money, totalling N.dollars 6 600, from various people who were accused of traffic offences after charges were withdrawn against them without appearing before court.
She allegedly used the aforesaid money for her personal benefit.
It further alleged that Theron cancelled a number of warrants of arrest which had been issued against the accused traffic offenders, and that she in some instances recorded on court records that the cases against the people had been withdrawn or that they had been cautioned after they pleaded guilty, while they in fact had not appeared in court.
Theron is out on bail.
She is now representing herself after her privately-instructed defence team withdrew from the case because of her financial inability to pay legal fees.
The trial continues on Tuesday.
(NAMPA)
SKE/EK/PS