Ex-magistrate says charges were concocted
Former magistrate Melaney Theron yesterday told the court during testimony in her own defence that the charges against her were concocted.
According to Theron, she and the control magistrate at Oshakati Magistrate’s Court, Mikka Namweya, did not see eye to eye from the moment she set foot in Oshakati in September 2010.
Going into a diatribe, she described how Namweya would assign her court duties for various courts, while he would use the excuse of administrative duties for not doing court duties.
“He was a very lazy man and would always put up the pretense of administrative duties to avoid presiding over cases,” she said in response to a question from her defense counsel, Garth Josephs.
She said it got so bad that she presided over four courtrooms and handled cases ranging from traffic tickets to domestic violence cases, including issuing protection orders.
According to Theron, when she complained, Namweya would stir up trouble for her. For instance, she said, at some stage she had to travel to Windhoek to attend to some partly heard cases and he reported her absent without leave. “I still believe he was the one who concocted these charges against me,” she told Judge Nate Ndauendapo.
Theron further denied cancelling warrants of arrest, or withdrawing charges against anyone out of her own accord. She said she only withdrew traffic tickets and/or cancelled warrants of arrest on the request of the prosecutor.
According to her, the tickets she withdrew, or the warrants of arrest she cancelled, were all done in accordance with the law. “I acted lawfully at all times and did what was legally required of me.”
In fact, she said, it became a problem for Namweya that she managed to wrap up many cases a day. He queried her on the rate at which she completed cases, she said.
Theron further denied having received any money from anyone during her tenure as magistrate at Oshakati Magistrate Court.
In his testimony Namweya testified strongly against Theron, saying he decided to set a trap for the former magistrate after receiving various reports about her alleged “dubious” dealings.
He was testifying in the second day of the trial, in which Theron is facing a mammoth 20 charges, made up of seven counts of corruptly using her office or position for gratification, five counts of fraudulently concealing an offence – under the Anti-Corruption Act -, two charges of corruptly soliciting or accepting or agreeing to accept a bribe, and six counts of defeating, or obstructing the course of justice.
She was exonerated on three of the charges after the State closed its case.
According to the indictment, Theron was arrested on August 15, 2011 after she accepted a N$1 000 bribe from two undercover police officers.
The State alleges that Theron committed these offences at the Oshakati Magistrate’s Court, where she was stationed between May 2011 and August 2011.
In summary, it is alleged that the suspended magistrate accepted money totaling N$6 600 from various people accused of various traffic offences, money which she allegedly used for personal benefit.
The State further alleges that Theron further cancelled warrants of arrest issued against the accused traffic offenders, while in some instances she recorded on court record that cases against people had been withdrawn, or that they had been cautioned after pleading guilty, when in fact these people never appeared in court.
Theron was suspended with full pay and benefits until her resignation as magistrate and is out on bail of N$7 000. Her case continues today.