Intelserve got story on Chief Justice wrong

THIS letter is in response to an article which appeared on the Intelserv website written by Thulo Hoeane and Ntebaleng Matsie which was titled “Lawyer blasts Chief Justice”.
I herein humbly make the following clarifications:
First, that His Lordship the Honourable Mr Justice M L Lehohla, in his speech delivered on the 1st of February 2010 in the ceremonial opening of the High Court Session 2010 categorically stipulated that 81 criminal trials were disposed of out of 125 cases which were enrolled.
This amounted to great success of 61 percent.
In the light of the statistics given above, it would seem clearly unfortunate that an allegation should be made that His Lordship the Honourable Chief Justice tried to give information that is misleading in the sense that the statistics above include dismissal roll.
Immediately below, I will clearly indicate where the question of dismissal roll features and that these are two separate things altogether.
His Lordship’s reference to 61 percent success was explicitly and exclusively reference to criminal trials which are part of the run-of-the-mill cases disposed of solely, and by no means matters enrolled for dismissal at all.
To be precise, the total number of the cases which were enrolled on the dismissal roll for want of prosecution in the judicial year 2009/2010 is 453 and 447 of the cases was disposed of.
The relevant extract from His Lordship’s speech fully reads “out of 125 trials enrolled 81 were disposed of the difference resulting as an overlap into the following year as opposed to backlog.
The overlap results from absence of slots in the year under review.
The overall conclusion is that last year represented great success of 61 percent as compared with the year before when only 35 out of 91 were completed amounting to a meager 38.5 percent performance (See Paragraph 1 at p.14 of the speech).
Accordingly, statement that the aforesaid matters “included matters disposed of in the dismissal roll” is in itself a misleading and unfounded piece of information.
In fact, at Paragraph 2 of the same page, His Lordship went on to state that “The overall picture shows that of a total number of different categories of cases footing up to 2900 enrolled 2438 cases were completed.”
So, all in all there was 84 percent success.
Second, under the newly introduced individual docket system, there is no way in any manner whatsoever to pave way for forum shopping because as it is always the case, there is an office entrusted with allocation of cases namely the Roll Office.
It will be the Roll Office which will randomly allocate cases to the Honourable Judges regardless of legal practitioners (lawyers) preferences.
The lawyers will only be informed of the Honourable Judges who will preside over their matters only and only after the allocation by the Roll Office.
In conclusion, in order to put the record straight and for the benefit of the public at large you are kindly asked to publish this information.
Your co-operation will be highly appreciated.

Adv. Motlatsi P Kolosang, Deputy Registrar, High Court and Court of Appeal.

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