Quote of the week

Although judicial proceedings will generally be bound by the requirements of natural justice to a greater degree than will hearings before administrative tribunals, judicial decision-makers, by virtue of their positions, have nonetheless been granted considerable deference by appellate courts inquiring into the apprehension of bias. This is because judges ‘are assumed to be [people] of conscience and intellectual discipline, capable of judging a particular controversy fairly on the basis of its own circumstances’: The presumption of impartiality carries considerable weight, for as Blackstone opined at p. 361 in Commentaries on the Laws of England III . . . ‘[t]he law will not suppose possibility of bias in a judge, who is already sworn to administer impartial justice, and whose authority greatly depends upon that presumption and idea’. Thus, reviewing courts have been hesitant to make a finding of bias or to perceive a reasonable apprehension of bias on the part of a judge, in the absence of convincing evidence to that effect.

L'Heureux-Dube and McLachlin JJ
Livesey v The New South Wales Bar Association [1983] HCA 17; (1983) 151 CLR 288
23 April 2007

What a surprise

The Public Protector, Advocate Lawrence Mushwana, has announced that his office will not investigate Chippy Shaik over arms deal bribery allegations. The Sowetan reports:

Mushwana said the Public Protector did not have powers to conduct criminal investigations and to institute prosecutions. “It is therefore for the National Prosecuting Authority to decide whether the allegations made by Der Spiegel warrant any further investigation in South Africa, at this time.” According to Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine, Shaik, brother of convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik, was allegedly paid a US3 million (about R21 million) bribe by one of the arms-deal bidding companies.

The Public Protector does have the power to investigate corruption and then to refer the matter to the NPA for criminal investigation. Guess Chippy has friends in high places and the Wise One is not prepared to upset them. If only I could feign surprise….

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