Advocate Malesela Teffo, the lawyer arrested in court during the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial, is considering suing Police Minister Bheki Cele and the police.
“What concerns us is the manner, the place, the timing and the way in which advocate Teffo was arrested. He was not supposed to be arrested inside the courtroom; that’s a contempt of court and it deserves a lawsuit that Mr Teffo must institute against the minister of police,” said Teffo’s attorney, Tshepo Timothy Thobane, in a report by News24.
Teffo is the defence advocate representing four of the suspects accused of murdering former Bafana Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa in 2014.
In dramatic scenes on 28 April, police arrived at the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to arrest Teffo while the murder trial was underway.
At the time, police said Teffo was arrested because he missed a previous court appearance.
Thobane accused the police of being underhanded.
He questioned the police’s claim that they did not know where Teffo was, saying they could have phoned him and the advocate would have presented himself to the police if needed to do so.
Teffo’s court appearance related to charges of trespassing and assault.
Questions raised over arrest
Questions have since been raised about the timing and place of Teffo’s arrest.
Even Chief Justice Raymond Zondo criticised the arrest, saying it showed disrespect for the judiciary.
“The Chief Justice wishes to make it clear that the arrest of anybody, let alone a legal practitioner, inside a court room is completely unacceptable and should not have happened. In this regard, it should be remembered that this was the same court room in which Advocate Teffo appeared representing his clients,” said Zondo.
“There was no justifiable reason why the SAPS could not have waited for Advocate Teffo to leave the court room and the court premises before they could arrest him.”
Teffo’s arrest has also led to speculation that the police were trying to intimidate the defence in the Meyiwa trial.
The police have been criticised for the way in which they have handled the Meyiwa murder case. Teffo has also, according to reports, been a thorn in the side of the police by representing ill-treated officers in recent years.