Gauteng based group, the Society for the Protection of our Constitution, has added its voice to growing calls for Judge Jeanette Traverso be removed from the Shrien Dewani trial.
In a letter written to the Provincial Director of Public Prosecutions, Rodney de Kock, Advocate Zehir Omar has urged Judge Traverso to postpone the trial in order to delay judgment in Dewani’s application to be discharged and acquitted on Monday. Omar has also asked prosecutors to apply for Traverso’s recusal.
The basis of the application is that Judge Treverso has been “impartial and unfair”. According to Omar, the public foresees Dewani to be a free man but would instead have her step down before she hands down the judgement. According to Section 174 of Act 51 of 1977, Judge Traverso had already made a judgement in favour of the accused.
“The comments by Judge Traverso when she asked Advocate Mopp (representative of the state) if he agreed whether evidence of the single material witness of the state was poor and remained uncorroborated. That question was unnecessary because the Judges function was to adjudicate upon the section 174 application,” Omar argued.
This means that the accused Shrien Dewani will not need to stand trial and will not need to answer the many questions that the public has.
“Why did Dewani so hastily leave the scene of the murder? Why did Dewani become so close with people involved in the murder of his wife? Why did Dewani not disclose his sexuality to Anni and her family?” asked Omar. “These are questions that must be asked.”
“Our country still subscribes to the Roman Dutch Common Law. Justice must not only be done, but seen to be done. This means that if the judge acts fair and unbiased but the public perceives this as unfair and biased, then justice is not been done. This is especially so in criminal cases and a dilemma that is faced in the Shrien Dewani trial.”
The public’s reaction is paramount in the judgement being handed down. Omar is urging the public to join the campaigns for justice in the Dewani case.
“There are some talks on twitter. We can’t allow women to be abused in this fashion. We saw this is the Oscar Pistorius trial but luckily the state is appealing”
SOPOC’s letter follows a petition launched by a new group called Justice4Anni. This support group have called on Justice Minister Michael Masutha investigate Traverso’s conduct. They claim she is clearly favouring the defence team and has been aggressive to the state prosecution.
The court will reconvene on Monday 8th December to determine the future of accused Shrien Dewani.
Omar said the organisation may apply to join the matter as a friend of the court. VOC (Nishta Sookdiyal)