A formal complaint was lodged against Western Cape High Court deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso on Thursday, the Higher Education Transformation Network (HETN) said. The complaint regarded her conduct during the trial late last year of British businessman Shrien Dewani.
Traverso failed to afford the State a fair hearing, according to the complaint letter to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC). HETN chairman Lucky Thekisho charged that Traverso had undermined the court’s authority and integrity by showing prejudice to black prosecutor Adrian Mopp.
“Judge Traverso and the entire defence counsel are Afrikaners. This in itself is not problematic,” he said.
However, he believed her socialisation and background were pertinent in the context of so-called ethical breaches. The HETN believed she had repeatedly harassed the State by subjecting it to “aggressive and unpleasant interrogation”, apparently showing annoyance and sarcasm.
Although not central to the complaint, it felt Traverso had erred in discharging Dewani and that her decision was based on an impartial evaluation of evidence.
Traverso last month granted Dewani’s application for his discharge on the charge of killing his wife Anni in Cape Town in 2010. The HETN wanted her removed from the Bench if she was found guilty of improper conduct. It also asked that she be suspended from her duties pending the investigation. JSC spokesman Sello Chiloane confirmed the complaint was received on Thursday. SAPA