Mdluli judge in hot water

Judge John Murphy lost his temper with an advocate representing police in the Richard Mdluli case.

Richard Mdluli. Picture: Barry Bateman/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - A judge may soon have to answer to the Judicial Service Commission for losing his cool with an advocate, who was representing the police in a matter involving former Crime Intelligence head Richard Mdluli.

The altercation between Advocate William Mokhari and Judge John Murphy brought a premature end to proceedings on Thursday in the North Gauteng High Court.

Senior officials in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) intended applying for leave to appeal Murphy's ruling to review the withdrawal of criminal charges against Mdluli.

But Freedom Under Law first wanted to apply to the court to have an earlier interdict reinstated, which led to the heated exchange.

Mokhari says Murphy called him an idiot and even repeated the slur in front of other council in the judge's chambers.

Murphy had minutes earlier adjourned the matter and stormed out of the court room because Mokhari ignored his instruction to stop making submissions and sit down.

It was Mokhari's refusal to answer the judge's question whether National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega was opposing the matter because she wanted reinstate Mdluli, which set of the heated exchange.

The judge has since recused himself from the matter.

Murphy or his clerk could not be reached for comment.