Momberg dumps lawyers in appeal against racism conviction
Convicted racist Vicki Momberg broke down yesterday afternoon during her appeal proceedings in the Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg), saying her dignity has been impaired. Momberg, who represented herself after she dumped her new lawyers, told the two judges presiding over her case that the state had not proven its case against her, says a News24 report.
‘I have been put through a court case that has impaired my dignity,’ she told the court, referring to her case in the Randburg Magistrate's Court, where she was found guilty of crimen injuria.
Momberg was found guilty on four counts of crimen injuria after she called a black officer the K-word 48 times when he came to her aid following a smash-and-grab incident in 2016.
In March 2018, she was sentenced to two years in prison with an additional year suspended.
‘I know what happened that night. I know I was traumatised. I was in a state of hypertension, there was just no control over the situation,’ she argued.
‘So much has been said about me being untruthful, which in itself is an impairment to my dignity. I was angry inside, I was upset, I was in a total state of hysteria (and) through that the whole episode played itself out,’ she said.
Yesterday morning, she brought proceedings to a halt after requesting to represent herself.
She terminated the mandate of her new legal team and then made an about-turn, asking the team to represent her again.
Attorney Wesley Rogers, who represented Momberg pro bono, told the court there had been a relationship breakdown between him and his client and that therefore he could not ethically act on her behalf. The former real estate agent was granted R2 000 bail last August, pending the outcome of an appeal against her conviction and sentence. Judgment has been reserved.
The court spent the entire morning dealing with Momberg’s numerous outbursts – against her legal team, the prosecutor, the Equality Court, the Randburg Magistrate’s Court and Legal Aid.
Yesterday, with her new, pro bono legal team, Advocate Anesh Sukdeo and Rogers, it appeared that with brand new heads of argument the case was finally set to go ahead, notes a TimesLIVE report.
But Momberg began interrupting proceedings because she claimed she was unwilling to tolerate the media presence in the courtroom, particularly after Judge Thifhelimbilu Mudau agreed to let video cameras into the room to cover the proceedings.
When Momberg's lawyers tried to explain they would not be willing to launch an application to remove reporters from the courtroom, she stood up in the dock and began addressing the judge herself.
‘The media have endangered my life … There’s no respect from the media,’ she told the judge, claiming the media had published her contact details in the past. She then asked to represent herself, terminating her mandate with Rogers.
Following consultations with Mudau and acting Judge Shanaaz Mia, Sukdeo and Rogers officially withdrew, prompting Momberg to deliver a lengthy diatribe about how she had been mistreated by the media, the court system and Rogers, who she claimed was too aggressive.
However, it was Sukdeo who revealed that the media application argument was not the key factor in why Rogers and he had decided to withdraw.
While he would not elaborate, he said that ‘99% of (the issues) did not pertain to the cameras’.
Prosecutor Jacqui Drotsky revealed that Momberg had either fired or lost six legal representatives since she was arrested, mentioning how Momberg had refused a Legal Aid representative in 2016 because she refused to engage in the entity’s means test to determine if she was eligible.
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