Sentencing of Nontuthuzelo Jack in Athol Trollip matter delayed

Sentencing proceedings in the matter involving former DA activist Nontuthuzelo Jack were halted on Thursday when the Port Elizabeth regional court ordered that a probation officer and social worker’s report be compiled before the case could continue.
Jack, 50, was convicted in September when the court found that she had purposely made a false statement to police that former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip tried to bribe her to dig up dirt on former DA provincial chair Veliswa Mvenya.
Magistrate Pumela Sibiya made the order for the report after it became apparent that Jack’s stand-in legal counsel had no insight into the personal circumstances of his client.
Jack’s legal counsel, advocate Eric Skepe, was not in court on Thursday for sentencing proceedings.
His stand-in, Simphiwe Jacobs, said he would leave the matter in the hands of the court as he did not intend to trivialise the case.
“We are pleading that the court shows mercy when handing down sentence.
“Direct imprisonment is not an option – that is our appeal to the court,” Jacobs said.
But when Sibiya began asking questions related to Jack’s personal circumstances including whether she was married, the number and ages of her children and if she was the primary caregiver, Jacobs was unable to answer and requested to consult Jack.
A seemingly annoyed Sibiya then made the order for the reports to be compiled for the court to ascertain Jack’s circumstances.
After the order was made, dismayed prosecutor Jomari du Toit dropped her head and shook it slightly.
The matter was postponed to November 15.
The allegations of bribery were made public and published widely during the runup to the 2016 local elections, which led to the charges of defamation being filed.
In her judgment, Sibiya said it was evident that Jack had made up the allegations and that she had altered her version as the trial progressed.

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