Porritt no baron of virtue and no ‘Oom’, says judge

Trial Judge Spilg shows intention to cause Porritt harm – Bennett.
A thin Gary Porritt was brought into court in shackles on July 9 for his urgent bail application. Here he is in deep conversation with his attorney, Jeff Mendelson. Image: Supplied

Tigon-accused Gary Porritt (69) has forfeited the honorary title of ‘Oom’ (uncle) that normally signifies the wisdom of a man his age, according to Johannesburg High Court Judge Ramarumo Monama.

Monama dismissed Porritt’s application to be released on bail to avoid the risk of contracting Covid-19 in the Johannesburg prison where he has been held since the withdrawal of his bail about three years ago.

Porritt and his co-accused Sue Bennett are currently on trial and face more than 3 000 charges of fraud, racketeering and contravention of the Income Tax Act, the Companies Act and the Exchange Control Act.

This relates to the collapse of JSE-listed financial services group Tigon around 2002. Porritt was the CEO of Tigon and Bennett a director.

The pair were arrested in 2002 and 2003 respectively, but the trial only started in 2016 following repeated delays to deal with numerous applications and appeals brought by the accused.

Porritt had to show that there was new evidence for the court to consider a fresh bail application.

Prison conditions are nothing new

Monama however ruled that the application was based on prison conditions, including overcrowding, which is nothing new and dismissed it.

He said the charges Porritt is facing are extremely serious and involve millions of rands. He said the case has a “long and checkered” history and the withdrawal of his bail was not done arbitrarily. While Porritt was out on bail, he used every opportunity to delay proceedings and is continuing with this strategy.

Read: My notes were used as toilet paper – Porritt

Monama said he cannot blame Porritt for doing this, because he is exercising rights that are available to him in terms of the Criminal Procedures Act and the Constitution, but there are consequences to exploiting the vulnerabilities in the criminal justice system.

He pointed out that the state denied Porritt’s allegations that the prison authorities fail to follow the protocols to protect inmates against Covid-19 and that Porritt did not deal with this denial in his replying affidavit.

If there are concerns with the prison facilities and prison authorities’ capacity to protect prisoners, they cannot be addressed in a bail hearing, Monama said. Porritt did not provide any reason for his failure to use more appropriate remedies, he said.

Exploiting the pandemic

Monama referred to the state’s argument that Porritt took advantage of Covid-19 as “a very painful situation” that not only South Africa, but the whole world is going through, with many people dying.

He added that Porritt is “not a baron of virtue”.

According to affidavits from fellow inmates and prison staff, he created “his own class of people” of poor character in prison who he can manipulate, and Porritt failed to answer to that, Monama said.

These affidavits described how Porritt allegedly arranged a prison riot and staged misleading pictures about prison conditions to be sent to various authorities and journalists.

Monama said at his age Porritt should be entitled to be addressed in a dignified manner of speech and referred to as an “Oom” (uncle).

“Unfortunately, Mr Porritt denied himself that benefit, partly through associating with people in prison to undermine the correctional services,” Monana said.

Read: What Porritt, Bennett didn’t want you to see

Porritt’s continued incarceration is also addressed in an application Bennett has filed for the recusal of trial judge Brian Spilg.

Bennett argues in her founding affidavit that Spilg conflated two different sections of the Criminal Procedure Act when he held an enquiry into Porritt’s failure to attend court in June 2017.

She believes that resulted in Spilg incarcerating Porritt indefinitely instead of for a year as the act provides for, according to her.

“In doing so, Judge Spilg failed, in submission, to observe the preemptory provisions of the Constitution which required him to make orders that are just and equitable and to protect and regulate the court process where it is inconsistent with the Constitution and therefore invalid,” she argues.

She alleges that Spilg often interrupted Porritt’s evidence during the bail enquiry and his conduct towards him was often intimidatory. He refused to hear relevant evidence and ignored evidence by medical professionals and substituted it with his own diagnosis of malingering (feigning illness), she states.

In doing this: “Spilg not only evidenced deep-seated antagonism towards Porritt, but an intention to cause him harm,” she states.

The recusal application, which has been joined by Porritt, will be heard on September 7. Both accused are represented by legal counsel with regard to the recusal application, but remain unrepresented in the criminal trial.

The criminal trial has been postponed to the same date.

Bennett must still complete her cross-examination of forensic auditor Linda MacPhail, who earlier testified about the flow of money from Progressive Systems Guaranteed Growth (PSCGG), an investment fund underwritten by Tigon, to various entities allegedly linked to the accused.

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His attorney must be loving this, hoping his client does not die of old age.

The SCA and the Department of Justice have been repeatedly shamed by these type of cases where accused totally abuse the system of rights.

The courts are way too scared of a mis-trial and bend over backwards, ad infinitum, to accommodate clearly abusive behavior.

The SCA should lay down clear rules on this issue and stop the waste of tax payers money.

Mr. Porrit, it would appear, went to the same school as ou dear Mr. JZ, the school of virtuosity through my own actions. In other words if I can stretch my trial out for as long as possible, just maybe I can get enough people with short memory disease, (SMD), to sympathize with me instead of my victims. Shame!

aai! Covid the leveler…thank God for small mercy’s.

Porritt has used every trick in the book to delay his trials. I have followed this trial from the beginning and I have the highest regard for Judge Spilg and the way he handled the most difficult “customers” in the form of Porritt and Bennett. Justice WILL be done some of or other time and hopefully Porritt and Bennett will serve their terms for the sake of justice. Porritt, due to his clever moves, has been in jail for some time now and I hope the justice system keeps him there for many years.

It just shows how the legal system is totally not fit for purpose and need be scrapped.
Obviously it was designed to afford all manner of persons, particularly politicos and cadres and fraudsters with means, multiple loopholes thru which the aforesaid can circumvent “justice”, i.e. duck and dive.
Essentially, the legal system is a disgrace.

My parents also taught me to respect the elders or “Ooms” of society. I did that until I was in my 40’s and then I saw how these “Ooms” behave at the golf club regardless of the amount of alcohol consumed. I then had enough of this nonsense and told some of them where to get off. Respect must be earned – old age doesn’t entitle you to it.

“Oom Gary” in his battle to avoid prison.

Yes, SA prisons are not a great environment, compared to other 1st world countries’ jails.

If convicted, alternative to a SA prison sentence, rather arrange “final justice” by having an arranged meeting with all his financial victims, and Oom Gary. (…at it won’t be via Zoom!)

(…will cost SA taxpayers also less)

And then he can accept what physical ‘inconvenience’ is dished out by his group of victims. The level of potential physical harm, will typically equally relate to the (combined) financial pain endured by the victims.

If the victims decide to make him drink a cup of tea with Brooklax, then justice is served & done with.

If the victims clip off a few fingers with a cigar cutter, then it’s accepted as final punishment. If a left or right arm is pulled completely off, resulting in uncontrollable bleeding, it is to be accepted.

Such kangaroo court is more ‘fun’ (than a boring courtroom) especially for Porrit in anticipation for the victim crowd meeting, as “Life is like of box of chocolates…you never know what you’re going to get”.

His long game is to drag things out and then plea bargain for a sentence that involves time served – mark my words.

I truly feel for judge Spilg. I don’t know him from a bar of soap but I bet you when he gets home he kicks the dog and has a double whiskey while kicking off his shoes. Judge, come over for a drink some time. We are well stocked. And when all is said and done lock this crook up for a long time. Do us all a favour. Judge Spilg for President!!!

End of comments.

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