Selebano excused from attending Esidimeni hearing pending judgment
Dr Barney Selebano is fighting a subpoena issued to him by the State, compelling him to give testimony at the hearings.
JOHANNESBURG - The State has argued an application brought by the suspended Gauteng Health HOD to grant him reprieve from testifying at the Life Esidimeni hearings has no legal grounds.
He played a key role in the disastrous project which resulted in the deaths of 143 psychiatric patients.
The lawyer representing Selebano has argued on Wednesday that his client is being subjected to a commission of inquiry and not an arbitration hearing.
Craig Watt-Pringle is trying to convince Judge Daniel Berger that the process is not an arbitration because there is no dispute, as the government has already said it takes responsibility for the deaths of 143 mentally ill people.
However, State attorney William Mokhari disagrees, saying the doctor is simply refusing to assist the arbitrator.
“We see nothing of substance that this court will accept that he has discharged the owners that this is an abuse of a process for him to be subpoenaed. As a result, My Lord, we submit that this court should dismiss this application.”
Mokhari has argued that there is no prescribed format to conduct an arbitration, adding that all parties agreed that the process would carry on as it has been since it started early last month.
If the judge is convinced by Selebano's argument, it would mean the subpoena is not valid as it would not fall under the Arbitration Act.
Selebano was supposed to testify on Monday but Berger says he should be excused pending the outcome of his decision.
“My suggestion is that, without limiting myself without prejudging anything, I direct that Dr Selebano is excused from attending until I’ve handed down my judgment.”
Judgment has been reserved until Monday.
#LifeEsidimeni all parties agree and judgement will be handed down on Monday at 10:00. Selebano is excused from presenting himself at the arbitration until 9:30 on Tuesday, depending on the outcome of the judgement. MR— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) November 29, 2017
#LifeEsidimeni Judge wants to make his decision on Monday, which is the same day Selebano is expected to appear. He says he understands this but he wants to do justice with the matter. MR— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) November 29, 2017
#LifeEsidimeni Watt-Pringle: why must he testify? What relevance does that serve? My client has already answered to the Ombud an he has a DC against him. Berger: what do you mean his evidence is not relevant? He was HOD. MR— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) November 29, 2017
#LifeEsidimeni Watt-Pringle is trying to have the court declare the proceedings a commission of inquiry and not an arbitration. If he convinces the judge on this quest, it would mean the subpoena has no legal ground. MR— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) November 29, 2017
(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)