Judge warns Porritt against avoiding material matters
Judge Brian Spilg warned Tigon accused Gary Porritt this week that he will make (negative) inferences if Porritt fails to deal with material matters in his criminal trial, notes a Moneyweb report. Porritt is cross examining the state’s first witness, convicted fraudster Jack Milne. Porritt is the former CEO of JSE-listed financial services group Tigon, which collapsed around 2002.
Together with former Tigon director Sue Bennet he is standing trial on more than 3 000 charges of fraud, racketeering and contravention of the Income Tax Act, the Companies Act and Stock Exchanges Control Act. At the time of Tigon’s collapse Milne was the CEO of Progressive Systems College (PSC). Tigon invested in PSC and underwrote an investment fund that PSC launched, called Progressive Systems College Guaranteed Growth. When Porritt questioned Milne about the prospectus, the pair were sidetracked into a discussion on fund manager qualifications, causing Spilg to ask Porritt what the relevance of his line of questioning was. He invited Porritt to rather deal with what in fact happened.
Spilg also repeatedly warned Porritt against the contemptuous way he addressed the court and said he will at a later stage go through the record and consider all the incidents of contempt.
He warned Porritt against a pattern of regular contemptuous conduct followed by apologies. He reminded Porritt that he earlier said he would put his version of events and said time is running out for Porritt to do so. If he fails to put his version and to deal with the serious accusations against him, the court will draw inferences from such failure, Spilg said.
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