Former senior state prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach intends applying for her discharge on charges relating to the handling of her NPA laptop.
The trial of Breytenbach – now a DA MP – and her attorney Johan Wagenaar was on Monday postponed in the Pretoria North Magistrates’ court to March 31 for for legal argument in an application for their discharge.
Counsel for the accused, Barry Roux SC, indicated that they would apply for their discharge after the state closed its case.
Breytenbach has accused her former bosses of orchestrating a “Gestapo-like” criminal investigation against her to get rid of her because she refused to drop charges against the police’s suspended Crime Intelligence Head Richard Mdluli.
Breytenbach alleged the charges against her correlated with the withdrawal of charges against Mdluli by (the now suspended) NPA Commercial Crimes head Lawrence Mrwebi – a step she fiercely opposed.
The NPA in March 2015 reinstated criminal charges against Mdluli after the Supreme Court of Appeal confirmed a court ruling setting aside the withdrawal of some of the charges against him.
Breytenbach was suspended from the NPA in 2012. She was cleared on 15 disciplinary charges, but resigned from the NPA in 2014.
She and Wagenaar have denied guilt to charges of contravening the NPA Act and defeating the ends of justice for their alleged refusal to hand over Breytenbach’s NPA laptop and wiping off official documents.
The NPA’s acting Integrity head Herculas Wasserman earlier testified that the Hawks were now investigating Breytenbach’s alleged involvement in a company with a former NPA “client” (complainant in a criminal trial) and a former defence advocate who appeared in many cases in which she was the prosecutor.
He conceded in cross-examination that Breytenbach had revealed her interest in the company, which never came to fruition and in which she never received shares.
Wasserman became involved in the investigation against Breytenbach after a complaint that she was not impartial in her handling of a mining rights case involving Imperial Crown Trading (ICT) and Kumba Iron Ore subsidiary Sishen Iron Ore.
He testified that he had found evidence of an “ethical dilemma” as Kumba’s advocate Mike Hellens seemed to have become involved in the investigation process against ITC.
He told the court he believed Breytenbach had refused to hand over her laptop and deleted files to thwart the investigation against her.