The Judicial Service Commission has ruled that there is no evidence of “gross misconduct” on the part of Judge John Hlophe, following a complaint by the Constitutional Court that he tried to improperly influence two judges. The ruling read: “On 15 August 2009, the Commission, by a majority, decided that none of the Judges against whom complaints had been lodged is
guilty of gross misconduct.”
But it did say the following:
“Neither of the Judges expressly
says that Hlophe JP asked that the cases be decided in Mr Zuma’s
favour. Both say that they inferred that Hlophe JP desired that result
on the basis of other things that Hlophe JP had said, for example,
that the cases must be decided properly and that Mr Zuma was being
persecuted like he (Hlophe JP) had been and that the Constitutional
Court was their “last hope”.
“The Commission accepted that it might have been unwise and
imprudent for Hlophe JP to talk to the Judges about the cases and
make the comments that he did. But it is not persuaded that Hlophe
JP’s actions make him guilty of gross misconduct.”
So, from now on it’s “unwise”, but okay for a judge to discuss cases with other judges, even going so far as to say that the accused is being unfairly persecuted. Not good.