Teek Appeals on N$6,8 Million Claim

FORMER Supreme Court judge Pio Teek yesterday returned to the court where he used to hear appeals – but this time as an appellant asking the Supreme Court to overturn a High Court judgement that dealt a fatal blow to his attempt to sue Government for N$6,8 million.

Acting Judges of Appeal Sandile Ngcobo, Paddington Garwe and Vernanda Ziyambi reserved their judgement after hearing arguments from Teek and lawyer Nixon Marcus, who represented Government, the president, the minister of justice and the attorney general in the appeal.

Teek asked the three judges to set aside a judgement in which Acting Judge Nicholas Ndou found in December 2012 that the High Court did not have the jurisdiction to deal with a claim that Teek instituted against Government, the president, the minister of justice and the attorney general in April 2010.

Judge Ndou reasoned in his judgement that the indirect result of the case that Teek had lodged against the four defendants was that the High Court would have to review the thought process of a judgement of the Supreme Court. The judge noted that in terms of the Supreme Court Act, an order of the Supreme Court could not be appealed against or taken on review. He also noted that the Constitution stated that decisions of the Supreme Court were binding on all other courts of Namibia and all persons in Namibia, unless it was contradicted by the Supreme Court itself or by an act of Parliament which had been lawfully enacted.

That judgement had far-reaching implications, as it meant the High Court would never be able to hear a claim about proceedings that took place in the Supreme Court, Teek argued yesterday. Judge Ndou’s decision was incorrect and it must be set aside, he argued.

Marcus argued that it would be an exercise in futility to refer Teek’s claim back to the High Court. He argued that in its current form the claim has no chance of succeeding.

Teek sued Government, the president, the minister of justice and the attorney general for about N$6,8 million, plus interest at a rate of 20 percent a year, and in the alternative also asked the High Court to order the defendants to provide him with the needed logistical and financial assistance that would enable him to sue three South African judges who dealt with an appeal in a criminal case in which he was the accused.

He claimed that the N$6,8 million was the financial extent of the losses he suffered as a result of his retirement from judicial office in October 2005 – about eight and a half months after he had been arrested and charged on child abduction, rape and other charges in early 2005. As a result of his early retirement and the Supreme Court’s later judgement, he lost income amounting to about N$3,7 million, suffered damages to his reputation in an amount of N$2 million, experienced pain, shock and suffering for which he should be compensated in an amount of N$1 million, and had to spend about N$170 000 on legal costs, Teek claimed.

He based his claim on an argument that Appeal Judges Piet Streicher, Kenneth Mthiyane and Fritz Brand, who in April 2009 heard the State’s appeal against his first acquittal on eight charges in the High Court, had trampled on his constitutional rights by making unwarranted and defamatory remarks in their appeal judgement. He claimed these remarks were damaging to his reputation and infringed on his right to a fair trial.

Teek’s trial had to continue in the High Court after the three judges set aside his discharge on six of the eight counts he had been facing. He was eventually again found not guilty on those charges in December 2010.

In his claim against Government and the other defendants Teek is alleging that the proceedings in the Supreme Court were irregular because the court’s actions were “incompetent, imprudent and corrupt”, and motivated by malicious bias and “partiality towards and collusion with the State”, with all of that aimed at ensuring that he would be convicted on the charges he had been facing.

Source : The Namibian