South Africa August 3, 2017

Dagga Trial Finally Underway: Judge Dismisses State Appeal

Day 4 into the trial and the case has yet to get under-way. Much to the vexation of the couple, the state launched an appeal to strike out evidence supplied by the couple.

The state argued that the annexures attached and supplied by the expert witnesses for the couple were not relevant and not customary. Rather, the state insisted that the annexures be struck out of evidence because of their inability to digest, include and rebut the annexures.

Don Mahon, the couple’s advocate, argued quite convincingly that the annexures are of importance and by illustrating the quality of the states’ evidence, the annexures go to show the validity not only of the testimony, but the data from which the testimony was gleaned.

“We would be criticised if we didn’t provide science behind it. When we provide the science behind it we get told now we have to read all this.” Mahon said

“With respect trawling through documents is what we [advocates] do.”

“They are complaining we gave them the information too early [ten months ago] and gave them to much work to do‚” he said.

It is fairly plain to the rational mind that one cannot simply make a claim with no evidence and expect wide reaching support for the claim. Follow that with the platform of court and one finds that not only must the claims be well supported, but the evidence must be presented for these claims.

At one point the Judge queried Mahon as to whether he (the judge) would be expected to read all the supporting annexures. Mahon replied fairly, acknowledging that not all parties can be expected to understand the complexities of all science.

However it is absolutely absurd for a Judge to recuse himself from inspecting the appropriate evidence that lead the witness to make said claim. Surely it is the duty of the Judge to consider all aspects of the case and take mitigating factors into account where there is contradiction in testimony. These factors would include factors that influenced the experiment or data that lead the witness to the claim.

Fortunately the Judge grew tired of the continuing delay tactics and sought to rule on the matter before discussion had occurred. His ruling was simple, the appeal to strike out the annexures is dismissed.

Mahon has finally and officially opened his case, let the games begin!

Watch the case live here

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