Breytenbach back in court for deleting files from NPA laptop


FILE. Democratic Alliance MP Glynnis Breytenbach appears in the Pretoria Magistrates' Court on February 15, 2016 for allegedly contravening the National Prosecutions Authority Act.

JOHANNESBURG –  Former State prosecutor and now Member of Parliament for the Democratic Alliance, Glynnis Breytenbach will appear at the Pretoria North Magistrate’s Court on Friday, for charges related to her shredding work-related documents from her work laptop.

On October 9, Breytenbach told the court that she had only deleted files from her National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) work laptop to protect her privacy. While on the witness stand, Breytenbach said she was unaware that she deleted files at the time.

Prosecutor Raymond Mathenjwa asked Breytenbach to explain whether the deleted documents were not the NPA’s official information. Breytenbach said some of the documents belonged to the police, but they were not apart of the NPA’s official documents.

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Mathenjwa said evidence previously presented in court stated there were more than 41 folders on the laptop, but Breytenbach hired an expert to permanently delete 13 folders.

Mathenjwa argued that evidence previously placed on record stated that Breytenbach deleted the Kumba Iron Ore versus Imperial Crown Trading (ICT) folders because the information was readily available elsewhere. Breytenbach insisted that she intended on deleting her personal information from the laptop “without knowing that they (the Kumba Iron Ore versus ICT folders)” were there.

Earlier, she told the court that if she was on a mission to destroy evidence contained on the NPA laptop, she would have “poured coffee on it or arranged for it to be stolen”.

Breytenbach was suspended from the NPA in 2012. She was cleared of numerous disciplinary charges, but she resigned from the NPA in 2014. She believes her suspension in April 2012, was a bid to stop her from prosecuting former police crime intelligence head, Richard Mdluli, amid political interfere.

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On the other hand, at the time the NPA said she was suspended because of her handling of a criminal investigation relating to a mineral rights dispute between mining companies ICT and Kumba Iron Ore over Kumba’s Sishen Mine.

In June, Magistrate Brian Nemavhidi acquitted Breytenbach and her former attorney Johan Wagenaar on two counts of defeating the ends of justice relating to the wiping of the information on the NPA laptop while she was on suspension in 2012.

However, they are still in court for the remaining four additional charges of contravening the Section 40 A of the NPA Act 32 of 1998 — which prohibits unauthorised access to, and modification of official computer content.