Monday, May 4, 2009

Hurry up and wait!

Ah - another day in the Johannesburg High Court.
This morning my colleague Boulders and I trudged multiple street blocks through the city to the high court building where we parted ways and headed off to the different cases we were covering. Today was the scheduled start of trial for ex-bouncer Gary Beuthin, his girlfriend Melanie and their mate Warren. The three of them are accused of luring a former Hells Angel guy to a house in northern Joburg where they apparently bashed him up with a baseball bat. It was a pretty gruesome affair - another journalist showed me phots the Hell's Angel guy's friends sent her. He was smacked so badly that his calf muscle actually split out of his leg - eeeew!
I arrived to find the court room empty. I asked around and was told the judge was sick and things were only going to start happening after the mid-morning tea break. Ah well - time to crack another fiendish Sudoko puzzle. Slowly other journalists started arriving. QuirkyOlderWoman who files for another daily paper arrived first, her reddish-coloured hair pulled back in a pony trailing down her back. Then my long lost friend FabulousShoes - wearing a particularly natty pair of black patent wedges strapped with a bow to her stocking ankles.
FabulousShoes: Wow QuirkyOlderWoman, this is the first time I have ever seen your natural hair. You always have it pulled up, or a hair piece or something like that.
JoziJourno: Ja - it's amazing. I never realised it was so long.
QuirkOlderWoman: Yes, well, after I had that hideous West Rand poodle cut that left me with short hair in the front and weird layers in the back I was not able to let my hair be seen. It was almost in a mullet style!
Sympathetic murmurs echoed round the gallery from all directions.
QuirkyOlderWoman trotted off. Then FabulousShoes disappeared. Eventually the lawyers for the accused got tired of waiting, crossed the passage and found another judge who was willing to quickly postpone the matter. *sigh* A few minutes later - trial delayed til July!!
The lifts at the high court, I had been warned by Boulders, were not only slow and unreliable, but were now regularly trapping people for several hours at a time. This may be fun for people paid by the hour, but not so much for me. I opted for the stairs where I bumped into two colleagues who invited me to join them as they covered the final part of today's ruling on when our Chief of Police currently on special leave due to corruption charges will finally get to go on trial.
Why not? So I joined them, and it proved to be an entertaining venture. Several Scorpions were there, seated together covertly scanning the room. Commissioner Selebi with his wife and bodyguards proved to be the focus of attention for the two TV cameras perched on tripods in the corner of the room. Paul O'Sullivan - that curious character who has done strange jobs for the Scorpions, conducted his own investigations into many of the big corruption cases on the go at the moment and appeared to take some joy out of harrassing journalists - sat down in front of me and proceeded to take photographs of the court with his cellphone.
And then the judge postponed our honourable chief of police's corruption trial to October.

1 comment:

  1. Good lord... do these judges do anything but postpone!???