A Cape flats magistrate is being investigated after a vrou piemped him for playing on his cellphone during court proceedings.
Magistrate Sean Lea, who presides over Court B at the Goodwood Magistrates’ Court, is being probed by the Magistrate’s Commission after pictures and videos of him went viral on social media over the weekend.
The Facebook post made by Fazloen Hoffman was shared more than 10 000 times and received over 2000 comments as users slammed the magistrate for his conduct saying he was wasting taxpayers’ money.
Hoffman explains she attended a theft trial on 1 February and was disgusted by the magistrate’s behaviour and decided to film and report him.
In her post, she writes: “The sitting magistrate and court officials are unprofessional, disrespectful and blatantly abusing taxpayers’ money and the privilege of being employed.
“The magistrate is condescending and irritable when cases are presented before him.
“Most of the time he was engaged on his cellphone even while cases are presented that require his undivided attention.
“In my presence, the punishments he meted out did not match the merits of the cases presented.”
Hoffman said Lea was like a “belligerent child” who rushed through the presentations.
“I decided to film him doing the old-guy one finger typing while the one court official known as Happy Mbabane was sleeping during the trials.”
She says when she confronted him, Lea became angry, claiming he had been texting his boss, a Mr De Beer.
“Wow, the frothing at the mouth, the red eyes and shaky frame that emitted, all the shouting and defensive screaming at me in the corridor was a sight to behold. Unstable and extremely scary,” she says.
Spokesperson for the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, Steve Mahlangu, says the department was aware of the matter and it has been referred to the Ethics Committee of the Magistrates’ Commission for investigation.
“Regarding the conduct of any public servants such as court staff, the regional office is investigating the conduct of the stenographer and has requested an urgent interim report,” he says.
Mahomed Dawood, the secretary of the Magistrate’s Commission, confirms they have received the complaint: “Considering that the matter is the subject of an investigation this office is unable to provide any further details at this stage as it may compromise the investigation.”
Lea has presided over a number of high profile cases.
In 2016, Lea found racist Bruce Allan, 35, of Parow Valley guilty on a charge of crimen injuria, after he verbally abused a young black woman in a shop in Pinelands.
Allan was ordered to pay the woman R8000 in compensation.