It seems that our magistrates are not safe from attack, even when they are in their offices. IOL has an article about a burglar who attacked a magistrate in her office at the Pretoria Magistrates Court on Wednesday:
The audacity of it! A robber actually attacked a magistrate in her office at the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
Staff were flabbergasted at the attack, but the bravery of one of them, prosecutor Sol Sefike, was impressive – he rushed to the magistrate’s rescue.
Regional Court magistrate Lynn Pillay was in her fourth floor chambers when a man entered just after 3pm.
According to colleagues she asked him if she could help. “The man apparently told her he was looking for the Help Desk. He had one hand in his pocket. Lynn told him that it was on the ground floor,” court personnel said.
The man then allegedly moved closer to her in a threatening manner. Pillay screamed.
She said later she feared he might have had a weapon in his pocket. The man grabbed her cellphone from the desk.
Sefike was next door and sprinted to her aid. Suddenly confronted by the lean prosecutor, the attacker decided it was wiser to run.
Sefike chased him until the man threw the phone away.
While this is a relatively minor attack, it is significant because it means that magistrates are open to more aggressive attacks. There should be security personnel posted around magistrates’ offices and court rooms. In the Johannesburg High Court security has been improved to the point where clearance has to be obtained before a person can enter judges’ chambers.