If Hlophe tried to influence me I would report him, says judge hopeful

Judge John Hlophe, who is among the commissioners, listened while attorney Matthew Francis, who has been in practice for 28 years, was questioned about the judiciary's independence.

2021-04-23 02:11:00 PM

Judge John Hlophe, who is among the commissioners, listened while attorney Matthew Francis, who has been in practice for 28 years, was questioned about the judiciary's independence.

Judge John Hlophe, who is among the commissioners, listened while attorney Matthew Francis, who has been in practice for 28 years, was questioned about the judiciary's independence.

“There is almost a shrill hysteria about the division. The division operates like any other division. Cases are dealt with timeously.“I have never had difficulty at all in fulfilling my duties or functions and the courts are running effectively. Perhaps some of the detractors need to come and visit the court.

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“The courts aren’t about to crumble, from my experience.”Cane put a scenario to Francis to ask what he would do if he were presiding on a matter and was approached by a judge who was not part of the case but gave their input on a preference they may have on the outcomes of the case.

“I would like to know how you would react to the case if faced with such conduct,” Cane asked.My experience says there is no difficulty in discussing cases with judges. As an acting judge myself, I found great comfort in being able to approach fellow judges and toss around ideas and perhaps talk about matters. headtopics.com

Advocate Matthew Francis“Judges take an oath to act independently and to dispense justice without fear or favour. If someone approaches me, it all depends on what the approach is. If it’s an obvious approach of ‘you will determine this matter in a particular way’, then obviously I would be offended and would take the necessary steps to refer it to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC),” said Francis.

“A lot depends on context and we know  context matters. My experience says there is no difficulty in discussing cases with judges. As an acting judge myself, I found great comfort in being able to approach fellow judges and toss around ideas and perhaps talk about matters.

“Talking about a matter and determining and deciding on a matter are two totally different things.”Earlier, Hlophe had disclosed to the commission that he had known Francis for about 30 years, adding that he had also lectured him. He also sang Francis

's praises, saying he was one of the best students he had seen.It was this disclosure of their long-standing relationship that seemed to bring Francis under intense scrutiny.Commissioner Julius Malema, leader of the EFF, asked Francis: “Given your relationship and long history with the judge president, if he comes to you and says ‘you are going to decide this matter in this way’, what will you do about it?” headtopics.com

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“I would report the matter to the JSC. I wouldn’t have any hesitation on that. But as I said, context matters,” said Francis.He is one of seven candidates who are being interviewed for two vacancies within the province’s court division. Read more: Times LIVE »

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