A legal skirmish broke out halfway through the criminal trial of former senior prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach yesterday when her advocate noted there seemed to be no proper authorisation to prosecute her.
Breytenbach and her attorney Gerhard Wagenaar have pleaded not guilty to charges of obstructing and defeating the ends of justice. Breytenbach, now a Democratic Alliance member of parliament, is accused of unlawfully deleting information from her official laptop in 2012. Wagenaar is accused of not handing over Breytenbach’s laptop while the investigation against her was ongoing.
The trial had to adjourn yesterday after her advocate, Barry Roux SC, said it appeared the state had deleted the portion of the charge sheet dealing with authorisation to prosecute without telling the defence, which had the potential of rendering the trial unfair.
“If there’s a certificate [of authorisation] produce it. He should know if he’s prosecuting with the correct authority,” Roux said. Prosecutor Raymond Mathenjwa conceded it was a contentious issue and asked for time to try to track the certificate of authorisation down.