‘Bogus lawyer’ case on hold

Brenda Wardle
Brenda Wardle
Image: Eugene Coetzee

A notice served on a state prosecutor and further attempts to appeal for bail have led to the trial date of alleged fraudster Brenda Wardle being pushed back.

Wardle appeared briefly in the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court yesterday for a date to be set for her trial.

But after losing her appeal for bail in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Thursday, she now intends applying for a further appeal.

Representing herself since she was arrested in East London last year, Wardle told the court it would not be in the interests of justice to go ahead with trial until all her options had been exhausted. “I don’t think justice will be served before all options are exhausted,” she said.

Wardle became a household name when she gave local and international legal commentary during the Oscar Pistorius murder trial.

She has been charged with fraud after it was found that she was not a legal practising attorney as defined by the Attorneys Act when she allegedly told an Eastern Cape family she could get their relative, serving a 12-year sentence for murder, paroled early.

Wardle allegedly swindled the family out of more than R500 000 between 2009 and 2013.
Prosecutor Tjaart van Zyl said he had received a notice indicating that Wardle intended to apply for leave to appeal the judgment handed down by Judge Glen Goosen on Thursday where he dismissed her appeal.

“The postponement [yesterday] was a result of the bail application which was dismissed. The state requests to remand the case for trial,” Van Zyl said.

Wardle told magistrate Hannes Claassen there were two outstanding appeals she intended to pursue – Goosen’s judgment and that of Judge Dayalin Chetty who earlier dismissed her appeal against the Department of Justice and six others.

The appeal against Chetty’s dismissal stems from Wardle accusing the departments of justice and correctional services and the minister of police, among others, of infringing her rights while she was being held at North End prison – labelled the “Rooi Hell” and the “house of a thousand devils”.

Wardle said she was not being offered adequate facilities in order to prepare for her case while in prison.

Claassen said Wardle should be allowed to exhaust all her options before the trial started but agreed with Van Zyl that “backup trial dates” be arranged so as to ensure the court’s availability when the trial eventually kicked off.

Previous requests by Wardle include that she be supplied with three-ply toilet paper and that she be allowed to use her laptop charger cable in the holding cells while at court.

A provisional date has been set for June 11 to allow Wardle enough time to deal with her appeals.