Former magistrate to answer to charges

By Roland Routh

Former magistrate to answer to charges

Windhoek

Former magistrate Melaney Theron has to answer to 17 of the 20 charges preferred against her, Judge Nate Ndauendapo ordered in the Windhoek High Court.
Theron applied at the close of the State’s case for a Section 174 discharge as she argued that prima facie evidence was not established on any of the charges against her. Judge Ndauendapo only read out the order and said the reasons would follow later.
Theron faced a mammoth 20 charges made up of seven counts of corruptly using her office or position for gratification, five counts of fraudulently concealing an offence – under the Anti-Corruption Act; two charges of corruptly soliciting or accepting or agreeing to accept a bribe and six counts of defeating or obstructing the course of justice.
She was acquitted on three of the charges, namely count 2, contravening the Anti-Corruption Act, corruptly using office or position for gratification; count 4, contravening the Anti-Corruption Act, fraudulent concealment of an offence, and count 17 – contravening the Anti-Corruption Act, corruptly soliciting, accepting or agreeing to accept gratification by an agent. According to the indictment, Theron was arrested on August 15, 2011 after she allegedly accepted an N$1 000 bribe from two undercover police officers.
The State alleges that Theron committed these offences at the Oshakati Magistrate’s Court where she was stationed between May 2011 and August 2011.
All in all it is alleged the suspended magistrate accepted N$6 600 from various people accused of various traffic offences, money which she used for her personal benefit.
The State further alleges Theron cancelled warrants of arrest issued against the accused traffic offenders, while in some instances she recorded on court records that cases against people has been withdrawn or that they had been cautioned after pleading guilty, when in fact those people never appeared in court. Theron was suspended with full pay and benefits until her resignation as a magistrate and is on bail of N$7 000.
During the first day of the trial on Monday, Theron pleaded not guilty to all charges and is denying the accusations against her.
She charged the State to prove the allegations against her.
The case continues.



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