There is a lot of misunderstanding, even among lawyers who should know better, on what your function as a defence attorney and state prosecutor is. It is not to get your client off no matter what - it is to present his case to the court in a manner which is such that justice can prevail. The opposite is true of the prosecutors who present the State’s or Victim’s case and note I spell Victim with a capital V, they are often overlooked in courts – it is not to get the accused found guilty at any cost. That is not your first motive although for some it is and it leads to trouble.
Like it or not, this is how our legal system works and I am tempted to say be grateful you have a reasonably working system, as bad as it is it is way better than the rest of Africa. Let me explain, in a place like Nigeria you will never greet the judge (many times a friend of many years) before the trial as he will fear that he is then seen as being bought. In South Africa we don’t have that, it is extremely rare for such allegations to be alleged and in our legal history it happened less than twice no matter what you read in the popular press. And we do greet the judge in chambers - in fact, in my days when I still bothered with litigation it was expected to do so. And no one ever said we tried to swing him to our side. It was simply good manners between professionals.
So why is it that attorneys (and I include the advocates) are sometimes hated for their actions in court? So much so that altercations between the Victim’s family and the attorneys take place or the accused and the attorney on record. You know what I mean, words are said, punches thrown and a fair bit of shovelling between the parties. All this is in law called “assault” and it will not be taken kindly to. Years ago I watched in court as an advocate dived for cover when he got attacked by the Victim’s family – luckily he was a big enough man to shrug it off. If he had chosen to lay criminal charges, the family would have gone to jail. It was totally uncalled for, they, the family, lied so much under oath that the judge dismissed their testimony with contempt.
Now lawyers are no angels and they do tend to annoy even the most easy-going of people including me who often joke about them and their mannerisms. They do have a nasty reputation for callousness and illegal activities. I wrote in my book “Tricks of Trade – Memories of a Rogue Lawyer” that you only have to listen to the lawyer jokes, sometimes told in a very harsh manner to understand how little respect the profession has in the eyes of the public. They are looked down upon and are two a penny (true), ambulance chasers (true), barefaced liars (not true) and what have you. And yet, take my word that they are inherently honest and good people doing a terrible job.
It is not a nice profession and you would never allow your child into it if you know the truth – long hours, nasty people, underpaid and abused staff and many other negatives. You are almost always, if in litigation, in a punch up. Yes, the size of your manhood plays a role even if the lawyer is female (even worse, she wants to prove she is tough, God knows why, I know women are tougher than men). Lawyers know and dislike each other as in any other job. Through the years you know who the shysters are and who is reasonable. And at times, yes, money plays a large role - the longer the case goes on the more money you make. You can read in the aforementioned book how lawyers add unnecessary money on every case and you will probably want to shoot the next one you see (don’t).
This reminds me, they do get shot and kidnapped and beaten up. Yes, we read of that…of lawyers shot dead inside their offices or found next to the road, dead and beaten to a pulp. This is wrong. This is as much as to threaten the surgeon with death if his patient dies under the scalpel. This is not the way our system works, don’t play the man who has a job to do even if you don’t agree with what he says. Cross examination in a court of law is by its very definition rigorous and things are said, even sarcastically (never allowed by a good judge) to get a clear understanding of what took place. All clients lie to you, that is lesson one. It is rare to find a client admitting anything which is negative to him unless he has to and you learn, as I explained before, a look of utter disbelief hoping he would get that you are not convinced and if you are not convinced then the judge will not be either. And then you find the honourable businessmen, they don’t lie, they confuse. My word, they set up Trusts and Companies, ring fencing themselves so much that you cannot get them no matter what you do. They play with money from one account to another and so it is. You should do the same and if you don’t know how, read my free eBook “Your Worst Enemy” which will tell you how to become untouchable in law. It is the only way.
All these things are allowed. I said many times (it is boring, I am sorry) the law is neutral. You must invoke it to get satisfaction. So are miracles, you need to ask God and believe (the hard part) for them. There is no need to physically attack the lawyer no matter what he does in court. Rather ignore him and make him a social outcast – you know the old joke about the dispute between hell and heaven? Heaven almost lost since not a single lawyer could be found in heaven. I don’t want to read of lawyers assassinated for whatever reason or lawyers shoved around when leaving court – they are men and women with the same feelings you have and will shove back or sue you. Don’t be stupid now, don’t feed the animals and have patience with their inherent flaws known to all man. It is our legal system and a fair one.
I am glad to see it is not only in South Africa where spin doctors are trying to cover up for past indiscretions with all sorts of clever sounding statements. Last week we sniggered about the frantic strive to mediocrity we see here. Now we are in a position to laugh at the Royal Leeches as I refer to the “British” Royal Family whose nasty exploits we have to endure now and then.
I say “British” because they are German, not English, and during the First World War they became so terrified that they rapidly changed their names to “Windsor” to be more socially acceptable. Will they ever go the route of the French Royal Family which ended in with the guillotine? Or even the Russian Tsar ending in an execution in a wood by rifle fire? No, probably not. It is not the English way to do such things and the Leeches are working very hard to keep the facade that they are important alive. Their best attempt is that their sons serve in the military – every one of them and they all have glamorous jobs whilst serving. Prince Charles was Phantom II pilot. Both his sons and one brother were helicopter pilots with the lone exception of one prince who could not make Royal Marine training. They apparently kept standards for everyone and it must be admired.
They do serve in combat, these princes. One was in the Falkland War and the current ones in Afghanistan for a while before scurrying home. But I ask you, when last did a Royal Leech die in actual combat? I am not talking about an aircraft accident during wartime - that does not count and happened in World War 2. I am asking in actual combat where shooting takes place? The answer is more than 400 years ago. Astonishing is it not? And hence many Republicans like me consider their “service” as a delightful flying club between drinking sessions in Las Vegas. Nothing inspiring and yet it is spinned as an almighty contribution. They proudly claim “veteran” status and smugly show their many medals. Yeah, some laugh at this and others applaud, spinning you know.
When you write any book you need to be very careful never to look ant-Semitic, the moment you say anything good about Hitler the Jews will get you. We have seen this time and time again. Suddenly a historian is belittled, his books banned and he reduced because he dared to differ. We had a recent case at Wits University, here in Johannesburg, of a fellow who said something about Hitler and was crucified in the media. Yet, he won that case because of freedom of speech. What exactly happened there I would not know and will never know unless I see the recordings for myself. I do not trust the media to be objective in such cases. They spin their own versions. In history it is quite funny to see this - you mention Germany and all you see is the Concentration Camps. You mention France and all you see is the defeat in 1940. You mention South Africa and you see a smiling Mr Mandela (although I am sure these days some will see a banana plantation growing). Strangely, you never see the Concentration Camps during the Second Anglo Boer War. Nope, the Royal Leeches and world press / media are ignoring that flatly. The Leeches must be scared to be sued as the Jews sued and twisted the Germans and France for compensation, not once, but probably four times now and we are talking billions and billions of dollars. It is regrettable to say that many stooped down so low as to pretend to be victims to cash in. Such people, riding on the backs of genuine concentration camp victims are beyond contempt. And yet, we see it so often that we wonder if anything they say is true and that is the problem where spin doctors work. They turn clean water into murky waters where they should be doing the opposite.
In causa, a UK newspaper published a video of the current queen leech doing a Nazi salute with her sister whose name I don’t recall. They were young, she was 7 and this was just after Hitler took over. So did her mom and her uncle Edward. Now this is interesting and the reason for the frantic spinning. Edward the Eighth was the King who abdicated to marry an American woman and he was pro-Hitler if not pro-fascism (we simply don’t know). What we do know is that he would have ended the Second World War in 1940 and Churchill banned him to the other side of the world where he stayed. We do know he was talking to German Intelligence whilst in Portugal (he had to flee France when the German tanks overrun it) and was very close in coming home to the islands and causing a constitutional crisis. Very interestingly we know that the fourth man in the KGB Cambridge Spy ring was Anthony Blunt, a well-known art professor. And the same Anthony Blunt undertook a top secret mission in 1945 whilst working for MI5 to recover document and letters sent by Edward to Hitler. What was inside those documents? No one knows. It is locked for a hundred years and the question is why? It must be terribly embarrassing and the same with this video – it is said to be stolen, of no interest to anyone and look at our sterling service and you know, the queen was 7 years old, for Pete’s sake, old chap. LOL, what service I ask? Must I ask again when last did a leech pay in blood? Does the queen leech serving as an ambulance driver impress me? Ah, no, many thousands ordinary lasses did so too. And why was Blunt treated so leniently, his confession was buried for years until Mrs Thatcher broke the news in parliament. What will history reveal about the Nazi connection with the Royal Family? They say they did not know about Hitler’s evil intentions? Really? Mein Kampf hallo, it spelled out clearly his intentions and was available in English. And did the Jewish Board of Deputies in the UK not declare war on Nazi Germany the day Hitler took over? Yeah, it is in all the newspaper of the time, don’t try to deny it. So they knew, they had to know or were exceedingly daft. Oh, and the best excuse yet, they were just waving or doing the Nazi salute in mockery, yeah sure.
You know, many say the leeches are valuable, people come to see them? Really, I have to ask, is Versailles where the French lot lived once upon a time, devoid of people? What about the magnificent Russian palaces? No, the tourists come to see the palaces and grounds and wonder why such things are allowed in a modern world where all man are equal (lol, yeah sure). Their removal will make no difference in tourism or anything else whatsoever but I can tell you, they are masters of spin and the myths and lies will be believed. Perhaps we can learn something here, perhaps we are not that corrupt, perhaps our leaders do know what they are doing and perhaps we should be less critical too. Perhaps the power cables are too low and the trains not too high. You decide.
When sitting comfortably in a place where polite people go alone to I scan the magazines my mom leaves for guests. It is the only place in the house where such magazines (and they are not pornographic, take my word) can be scanned without being seen and ridiculed at as you need the IQ of a succulent suffering from slow growth to want to read them in the first place. They are that bad. This quote by the way was what a teacher once said to me “You have the IQ of a succulent suffering from slow growth” and like my favourite minister Angus Buchan I am tempted to search for this fellow and ask him how many degrees he has, how many books did he write and let us take a walk behind the shed to sort our differences in opinion out like men (Uncle Angus never said the last part, I am more violent). Unfortunately, the teacher is already in hell where he belongs with the rest of his nasty colleagues. It is a pity, I often dream of nice short left hook in the face and then I calm down and remember forgiveness and all that.
Whilst scanning the magazines in a moment of great boredom I read excuses although I am sorely tempted to call it what it is, government propaganda, relating to the power cuts we are forced to endure here. For those who don’t get what I mean it is called “load shedding” which means the power grid is turned off without decent warning at any time blacking out suburbs for anything between an hour and four hours or even more. This is to prevent a total crash which is due to institutional incompetence, what else can you call it?
In twenty years no decent planning existed to upgrade the power grid and the maintenance of the once fully functional power grid was left to slip into typical “we don’t care as long as we are paid magnificent salaries” attitude. And guess what? As more and more people got onto the power grid (a good thing) the strain got too much and now we are forced to buy gas stoves and candles of all things if we cannot afford generators. You know, back in the eighties there was a joke “What did Zimbabwe had before candles? Electricity!” and now we are the same; we also once had a power grid we were proud off. It is all rather pathetic and interesting to me, able to read between the lines, how the load shedding is being spinned as something to be proud off.
Let me explain. When this first happened people joked, “I wonder how many babies are made because of it.” Fair enough, if you need to wait for a power cut to get cuddly with your missus you must have an extremely boring life but fair enough, we smiled and thought it will not happen again (the load shedding, not the cuddling, my word). And now I read, years later, people are playing cards, lying on the grass watching the stars or having a barbecue. This is to be admired, the “can do” spirit which made men and women move into Africa and conquering all before it (or as some would say, subjected the natives – it depends on your views and I don’t even want to debate it). But my question here is one of ethics. “Is it good that we take such insults to our national honour, and it is an insult based on incompetence, so mildly and joke about it?”
I get the stiff upper lip thing, I get the let us not moan all the time and I do get the well this is the way it is, if you don’t like it, you are welcome emigrate. What I don’t get is the acceptance of that what is not acceptable. It is not acceptable to pay for electricity and not receive the service and legally being unable to do anything about it. You may, under human rights I suppose make out a case, there was an instance where someone sued the Indian Government for potholes in the streets, but in general the system is such that you have no recourse except moaning in your blog about it. The horrible fact remains that we are getting used to that we should not get used to.
I wonder, what else are we joking about what we should really be angry about? The security situation forcing decent men to spend money on electric fences, guard dogs even if you are a cat person, CCTV and hoping you are not hacked and your cuddling with the missus seen on the internet, armed reaction which according to studies is useless as is an alarm system. Yet we do this and we accept that the police are apparently so pathetic that it is not even expected from them to solve the simplest of crimes let alone protect you. When we read of the latest scandal (there is no other word) surrounding the presidency or other elected officials we shrug as say, “Ah, this is Africa, what did you expect” and I also am on record in books to say such a statement angers me, it is racist. Let us look at it a bit deeper.
Why do we expect less from Africa than any other place? Because of the above circumstances we accept as normal, I suppose. It is hard to argue with the ones contemptuously pointing at what we accept as normal and joke about because we have no other choice. I believe we have a duty, an ethical compulsion if you wish, to complain and use the legal system to the maximum extend to force change back to normality and not what is happening now. Sometimes I really believe we forgot our great dreams of the 1990s when we had hope and the desire to change for the better. Now I only smell the bananas and it is a bitter smell. And that part so often said “If you don’t like it, you are welcome emigrate?” Yeah, I also believe that given half a chance most would emigrate if welcomed in another country and that is probably the worse mark of a failure country can get. Mediocrity is not something to strive for.
Koos Kotze is a former member of the South African Police Force. He served between 1985 and 1991 primarily as a sergeant in the Pretoria Flying Squad. During his police years, he was awarded the South African Police Medal for Combating Terrorism twice besides lesser awards. After leaving the Police Force he obtained the law degrees B Iuris & LLB at the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa) and was a commercial law attorney for eight years. These days he is the owner of JKLS Africa and Associates, a specialist legal consultancy which specializes in reducing legal risk in sub Saharan Africa. He wrote several books on business, law, counter-terrorism and security issues. At times he is asked to participate on the Voice of America regarding legal forensic matters.