Teek loses payout bid

14 March 2018 | Justice

The N$6.8 million lawsuit brought by retired Supreme Court judge Pio Teek against the justice minister and the ombudsman was yesterday dismissed in the High Court in Windhoek.

Judge Herman Oosthuizen, presiding over the lawsuit, in his dismissal stated that the summons and particulars of the claim against the three foreign judges were “bad in law and that no relief in money could be claimed with the summons and particulars of claim in this case”.

Teek had sued the minister and ombudsman for malicious and undue lengthy delays, and the unlawful failure to speedily serve the combined summons against the South African appeal judges Piet Streicher, Kenneth Mthiyane and Fritz Brand, had grossly violated his constitutional and statutory rights. The delay had allegedly resulted in his financial loss.

The three had heard the State's appeal against Teek's discharge by South African Judge Ronnie Bosielo in 2006 on child abduction, rape and other charges, and referred the case for retrial.

The State claimed that Bosielo erred when he found that they did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Teek was guilty and also criticised the manner in which the police handled the investigation.

Judge Oosthuizen said the summons against the foreign judges was issued by the registrar but was not served before its withdrawal.

He emphasised the present case for damages instituted by Teek relied on a non-service of summons and therefore, no legal action could follow.

The judge added that the particulars of the claim failed to plead for the jurisdiction of the court and “I find that the Namibian High Court could not assume jurisdiction in the case of the three judges”.

“Not one of the four factors, that is, domicile of the defendants within the state, their residence, the fact that they are foreign nationals, and presence of property of defendants within the state was properly pleaded,” the judge stated.

He emphasised that it was necessary for Teek to allege and disclose facts in his particulars of claim against the three foreign judges to show that Namibian High Court would have had effective jurisdiction.

The attorney-general had in September 2010, in response to the request of the registrar of the High Court to facilitate the service of summons on the said judges, said it could not be processed due to non-compliance with Rule 5 of the High Court rules and in the absence of a legislative framework.

Judge Elton Hoff on 18 June 2010 had consequently removed Teek's appeal from the roll pursuant to Rule 5.

Teek had argued that unlawful actions, conduct and decisions were taken with the settled malicious intent to prevent him from prosecuting the action and to be compensated by the said judges.

The unlawful conduct was the material and direct cause of his decision to withdraw and abandon his civil action against the South African judges.

He also allegedly pleaded to the ombudsman for remedial assistance but that this was to no avail and that the latter also flagrantly ignored requests to meet him.

When, on 10 June 2013, the ombudsman did not reply to his request to attend to his complaint, he lodged a complaint against the ombudsman before the Judicial Service Commission.

The former judge had maintained that he had a good case against the three judges and would have succeeded in obtaining damages against them.

Teek had argued that because of the conduct of justice minister he was never able to bring that case and hence he had lost the money he would have obtained.