JSC Orders Sande To Retract And Apologise For Alleging Court Capture1 month ago
Lawyer Jaqueline Sande, who represents Savior Kasukuwere, has been instructed by the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) to retract and apologise for her comments made in relation to the case involving Kasukuwere and Lovedale Mangwana. The JSC asserts that Sande’s remarks during a press conference were factually and legally incorrect and lacked any foundation.
In a letter addressed to Sande, the JSC expressed its displeasure with her objectionable comments, which it believed denigrated the Judiciary as a whole and specifically targeted the Supreme Court and its honourable judges. The JSC cited specific statements made by Sande during the press conference that it deemed offensive.
The JSC reminded Sande that she is a practising legal practitioner and an officer of the court. It emphasised that making inappropriate statements about matters pending before the courts is prohibited by established law. The JSC highlighted that Sande’s comments falsely ascribed political motivations to the Supreme Court’s decision and accused the court and its judges of colluding with political parties.
The JSC demanded that Sande issue an immediate retraction of all objectionable statements, along with a written public apology to the Supreme Court for the harm caused to its reputation. The JSC requested a response from Sande within seven days from the receipt of the letter. Reads the letter to Sande:
RE: COMPLAINT BY THE JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMISSION AGAINST YOU AND REQUEST FOR A RETRACTION AND APOLOGY: PUBLIC STATEMENTS MADE BY YOU IN A PRESS CONFERENCE HELD ON 28 JULY 2023 IN CONNECTION WITH THE MATTER OF SAVIOUR KASUKUWERE V LOVEDALE MANGWANA AND ORS SC 387/23
Reference is made to the above.
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It has been brought to the attention of the Judicial Service Commission that following the dismissal of an appeal filed in the Supreme Court by Mr, Saviour Kosukuwere against the High Court decision of mangota J. you convened a press conference on a Jury 2023, which was recorded both as a live video recording and accompanying audio.
The recording has since been posted on Facebook and other social media platforms. We have also taken the trouble of having the recording transcribed. We attach hereto for your attention the full transcript of the press conference and a memory stick of the video recording.
During the press conference, you made serious objectionable remarks that denigrated the Judiciary in general, and the Supreme Court and its Honourable Judges, in particular. We highlight hereunder the extracted remarks which we consider objectionable and offensive:-
i. That, ‘the Supreme Court in its judgment has surely abdicated its duties, its judicial function….’.
ii. That, ‘these processes which are already in motion are fortified by the deep-rooted desire to serve our beloved country and State institutions from brazen corruption which is escalating to the extent of plunging the whole country into a constitutional and electoral crisis’.
iii. That, ‘The judiciary has usurped the people’s power to decide who to lead them’.
iv. That ‘The fate of the country has now been captured by a few individuals who have taken it upon themselves to twist the law and apply it unevenly in such a manner as to prejudice and deprive the majority of Zimbabweans of their right to vote which is enshrined in the Constitution’.
v. That,’ … today a few individuals clothed in judiciary clothes have taken it upon themselves to limit that right and stifle the political space. This is indeed sad and regrettable’.
vi. That, ‘There is collusion, independent constitutional bodies, the judiciary are working hand in glove seemingly, with the ruling party to avert the will of the people of Zimbabwe. This is regrettable and unfortunate in the history of our country’.
vii. That,’ But we have seen that the courts in collusion with ZANU PF, in Collusion with Emmerson Mnangagwa have taken it upon themselves to try and vote for each citizen through dubious court orders which they cannot even back. If that judgment had any reasoning, we would have been there for an hour with the judge reading out the reasons why they think that our appeal is lame but they cannot even do so. In one minute, they were out. This is not a judgment that should be accepted as a fair judgment’.
The utterances you made at the press conference as highlighted above are both factually and legally incorrect and without any basis at all. The JSC is, as a result, concerned by the professional and ethical propriety as well as the legality of the statements that you made at the press conference concerned. Our basis for holding these views is as follows:-
i. You are a practising legal practitioner and a principal of a named law firm, Sande and Associates. You are therefore an officer of the court. You made unsavory and contemptuous comments on the Supreme Court bench because of the decision made by the Court that you did not like, and, which was now pending in the Constitutional Court. A time-honored practice, which has crystallized into law, prohibits the making of inappropriate statements on matters pending before the courts.
ii. Having violated the sub judice rule, we also note that your remarks were an attempt to influence the outcome of the matters already or yet to be filed in the Constitutional Court and, consequently, defeat the course of justice.
iii. The statements you made have the effect of scandalizing the court and its judges by ascribing to it political motivation in its decision. This is because it is not true that the Court and the judges are colluding with political parties and other political players as you stated.
iv. As a legal practitioner, you must be aware that it is not uncommon for decisions of the courts to be handed down ex tempore and later followed by a full judgment. The inflammatory and reckless utterances you, therefore, made in the circumstances were not warranted. Moreso, you did not at any time as is the norm by legal practitioners request for written reasons from the Supreme Court.
The comments as highlighted above are vicious and concentrated attacks intended to vilify, denigrate and demean the integrity of the Supreme Court and its judges. The Judicial Service Commission is concerned that your statements if left unchallenged, intrude on the independence of the courts and undermine public confidence in the judiciary.
In the circumstances, we write this letter to you to request for an immediate retraction of ALL the objectionable and offensive statements you made on 28 July 2023 at the Press Conference via a public press conference and a written public notice coupled with a written letter of apology to the Supreme Court for the injury caused to its reputation and standing by your false statements.
We would appreciate to hear from you on your response within seven(7) days from the date of receipt of this letter.