Now that the high court has pronounced her arrest and subsequent detention to have been unlawful, the prosecution should withdraw the criminal charges against her, says her legal team.
Pretoria – The legal team representing Norma Mngoma, estranged wife of Malusi Gigaba, is of the opinion that now the high court has pronounced her arrest and subsequent detention to have been unlawful, the prosecution should withdraw the criminal charges against her.
Mngoma appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Friday on a charge of crimen injuria and malicious damage to property.
Her reappearance on these charges followed hours after the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, had ruled the decision to execute an arrest warrant against her was unlawful.
Judge Cassin Sardiwalla on Thursday found the branches of the Hawks officials who secured the warrant of arrest, acted with malice.
Mngoma was arrested in July following claims she, among others, had damaged a luxury car, driven by her former minister husband at the time, by scratching it with a vegetable peeler.
There were also allegations she had sent insulting messages to a friend of her husband.
She was detained overnight in a police cell before she was granted R5 000 bail.
Days prior to her arrest, her electronic gadgets, such as cellphones, a laptop and other devices were confiscated by the Hawks.
While they had meanwhile returned the devices, it appears they had downloaded personal information which were contained on the devices, which they must now restore in terms of Judge Sardiwalla’s order.
The judge not only frowned upon the fact that the Mpumalanga Hawks orchestrated her arrest, while the now estranged couple stayed in Waterkloof, Tshwane, but also found Gigaba abused his power to have her arrested.
Armed with two of the country’s top legal eagles on Friday – advocates Dali Mpofu and Tembeka Ngcukaitobi – Mngoma now hoped the charges against her will be dropped.
Mpofu, armed with the 41-page high court judgment, again compared her prosecution to “a fruit of a poisoned tree”.
He also used this argument during Mngoma’s urgent application to the high court.
He said the judgment spoke for itself that the arrest was unlawful.
Mpofu also pointed to the fact Judge Sardiwalla made a punitive costs order against the Hawks.
The prosecution, however, maintained just because the court found her arrest to have been unlawful, it did not mean the criminal charges had to be withdrawn.
The matter was postponed to March 26 to give the prosecution time to study the judgment and for further representations to be made regarding the charges against her.