Not so many moons ago an 18-year-old schoolboy in matric at a top Johannesburg private school received hideous facial injuries – the photographs are stomach-churning – when an older man viciously stabbed him with a broken glass in an unprovoked attack at a local night club.
The attacker, in his twenties, is an up-and-coming star in local golfing circles.
The mother of the now-disfigured boy quite naturally wanted her son’s assailant to be criminally charged. Expensive lawyers were retained. But curiously no charges have been brought. Why?
It emerges that a prominent Johannesburg silk, brought on board to represent the injured boy’s interests, received a phone call from a woman lawyer of high rank in the Pretoria office of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
The decision on whether to prosecute was hers. However, she told the advocate that the parents of the golfer were very good friends of hers, and she was calling to enquire how the whole thing could be discreetly disposed of to the satisfaction of all parties.
At the request of the advocate, the boy’s attorney penned a letter to the golfer’s attorney with a list of suggestions as to how the matter could be “satisfactorily disposed of”.
These (this after all is Joburg) revolved around financial compensation totalling millions – for medical bills, plastic surgeon’s costs, general damages and, of course, legal fees.
But weeks have passed, with naught but a deafening silence in response from the golfer, his well-connected relatives, and his legal reptiles (Oops).
Criminal advocates, by the nature of their work, have on-going dealings with their counterparts among senior staff of the NPA, and it’s important to maintain cordial relations with these mandarins. But, by the same token, betrayal of trust is a bad, bad, bad, bad thing. So what happens next?
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