McBride’s legal team praises High Court ruling

Robert McBride’s defence team says today's ruling is fundamental for the independence of the institution.

FILE: Robert McBride. Picture: Barry Bateman/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The legal team representing Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid)'s Robert McBride says today's High Court ruling that his suspension is invalid is fundamental for the independence of the institution.

McBride challenged Police Minister Nathi Nhleko's power to suspend him in May and to institute disciplinary proceedings.

LISTEN: Decision to suspend McBride from Ipid unlawful.

He had been accused of covering up the illegal rendition of five Zimbabweans.

McBride's lawyer Jac Maree says today's ruling by the High Court is extremely critical in terms of the separation of powers although the Constitutional Court first needs to confirm that the suspension was invalid.

"There is a further step to be taken and that is the Constitutional Court and at the moment the court has pronounced on these issues and for that we are grateful."

Maree says the Constitutional Court can, however, decide not to confirm today's ruling.

"It's going to apply its mind to it, it's not only a rubber stamp. The matter will be fully ventilated again to the Constitutional issues."

While the police ministry is studying the judgment, McBride says he is pleased that the ruling has cleared up any uncertainty around his suspension.

LEGAL TEAM HOPING MCBRIDE WILL BE BACK TO WORK EARLY NEXT YEAR

McBride's legal team says he could be back at work early next year if the Constitutional Court confirms that his suspension was unlawful and Parliament decides not to institute a new disciplinary hearing against him.

The suspended Ipid boss says it's been a difficult nine months since his suspension and he has thanked those who he says "stuck by his side".

"It has now been corrected and will go up to the Constitutional Court for confirmation."

This High Court ruling does not mean McBride's suspension has been officially lifted, as the Constitutional Court first needs to agree that it was unlawful.

McBride's lawyer Jac Maree said, "It's not a rubber stamp and the Constitutional Court will confirm the judgement or make any other order it deems appropriate."

The court also ruled that Parliament now has 30 days to initiate new a disciplinary hearing against McBride or abandon the issue.