Fraudulent ex-lawyer launches SCA appeal
Discredited former attorney Mike Randell has resorted to the SCA to fight the High Court’s refusal of leave to appeal his fraud and theft conviction. A Daily Dispatch report says in 2015 he was struck from the roll of attorneys after being exposed for his part in defrauding a Port Elizabeth school of R2.4m.
He was convicted in 2016 and sentenced to an effective four years’ imprisonment. Randell appealed the conviction claiming that the magistrate who convicted him had unfairly relied on the harsh judgment in terms of which he had been struck off the roll of attorneys. In that judgment, Judge Sytze Alkema found on a balance of probabilities that Randell was inherently dishonest and fraudulent.
It was argued on Randell’s behalf that not once during his trial had Randell been asked directly to comment on Alkema’s findings against him and yet these findings had influenced the magistrate.
But Judge Mandela Makaula, with Judge Thami Beshe agreeing, dismissed this contention. Makaula said the magistrate’s reference to Alkema’s judgment did not amount to an irregularity or misdirection. Even if it had, it this would not amount to a failure of justice. Every criticism the magistrate made about Randell – even those that had mirrored Alkema’s criticisms – had been factually based and independently supported. He said the evidence had conclusively established Randell’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Randell’s attorney confirmed that Randell had resorted to the SCA for special leave to appeal.
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