McBride back in court on drunken-driving rap

The drunken-driving trial of axed Ekurhuleni metro police chief Robert McBride was expected to continue in the Pretoria Regional Court on Monday.

His trial was postponed in March to allow the State to gather more evidence.

McBride is standing trial on charges of fraud, defeating the ends of justice and drunken-driving after crashing his car on the R511 near Hartbeespoort Dam following a Christmas party in December 2006.

One of the first witnesses on the scene, Francois de Ridder, testified last month that McBride had bloodshot eyes, reeked of alcohol, slurred his words and was unsteady on his feet.

The defence, however, accused De Ridder of being prejudiced against McBride.

Earlier, a former Ekurhuleni metro police officer told the court that he signed a false statement in order to protect McBride, who was his boss at the time.

‘I was scared of that man’
Patrick Johnson told the court that he had signed a statement under oath in 2007, stating that McBride had been sober when he crashed his car in December 2006. Johnson was giving evidence during the trial of Dr Joseph Moratioa, who is charged with fraud and defeating the ends of justice.

Moratioa, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges, is alleged to have given McBride a false medical certificate after the crash.

Moratioa was apparently one of several doctors approached by McBride and his men after he was involved in a car accident while allegedly under the influence of alcohol.

Johnson told the court that he had only signed the statement, which was later submitted to former Ekurhuleni executive mayor Duma Nkosi.
“The statement was prepared by Trish Armstrong, who also read it during the meeting with the mayor,” Johnson said.

Asked by Moratioa’s lawyer, advocate Johan Pretorius, if he had challenged the contents of the statement, Johnson said he could not because he was afraid of McBride.

“I was scared of that man [McBride],” Johnson said, pointing to McBride, who was seated in the public gallery.

He claimed again that McBride had threatened members of his “clean-up team”, which included Stanley Sagathevan and Itumeleng Koko.—Sapa

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