Closing arguments under way in Motata case

With Judge Nkola Motata not having testified, what has been put to witnesses on his behalf should not be taken into account, state prosecutor Zaais van Zyl said on Thursday.

He was giving closing arguments at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court in Motata’s drunken-driving case.

He noted that with the accused not having testified, some questions about the accident remained unanswered.

“Why did the accused not use one of the many driveways ... why was the impact of the accident so severe ... why did he remain in the vehicle after the accident, why did he hit the wall, why he was he swearing, why were there spelling errors in his handwritten note ...” Van Zyl asked.

The state submitted that the accused was under the influence of liquor at the time, that he smelled of liquor, that he had a lack of control over his vehicle, he displayed language impairments, and was scribbling on his written note.

“This proves beyond reasonable doubt that he was intoxicated by liquor and was unable to drive his car.”

Van Zyl explained to the court that the crime scene was crucial to the theory for the court to make a decision.

“The version put on his [Motata’s] behalf carries no weight.
He does have a right to be silent, and as a high court judge of South Africa he was aware of his rights at the scene,” said Van Zyl.

Motata was acquitted in June on a charge of “driving with an excessive amount of alcohol in his blood” as an alternative charge to drunken driving.

Motata was charged with drunken driving in January 2007 after he crashed his Jaguar into the perimeter wall of owner Richard Baird’s property in Hurlingham, north of Johannesburg.—Sapa

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