1 minute read
17 Sep 2014
10:27 am

Law Society condemns attacks on Judge Masipa

The Law Society of SA (LSSA) on Wednesday expressed concern at the threats and personal attacks made against Judge Tholozile Masipa following her judgment in the trial of Paralympian Oscar Pistorius.

Judge Thokozile Masipa delivers her judgement in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial at the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday, 11 September 2014. Picture: Phill Magakoe/Independent Newspapers/ Pool

“As the attorneys’ profession we join our colleagues at the Legal Resources Centre, Section 27, and the Centre for Child Law in condemning the personal and inappropriate comments made regarding the judge’s race and gender, as well as alleged threats against her security,” LSSA co-chairmen Max Boqwana and Ettienne Barnard said in a statement.

“Judicial officers – judges and magistrates – and legal practitioners must be allowed to perform their duties without fear of attacks on their persons, safety, or work environment, as has been the case also by the recent spate of shootings in courts.”

The LSSA said court judgments were not above scrutiny, but the judgments had to be respected and scrutiny had to be informed, constructive, and based on sound legal principles.

“For that reason we have an appeal procedure in our courts which allows parties, who are of the view that a different judge or court may come to a different conclusion, to apply for leave to appeal,” it said.

“However, personal attacks on the judicial officer and the legal practitioners are not acceptable or appropriate in a country where the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary and of the legal profession are paramount,” Boqwana and Barnard said.