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Judge Colin Lamont

Candidate Profile:

From bomb scares at court to alleged attempts on his life, South Gauteng High Court Judge Colin Lamont has experienced more aspects of a mafia film than Robert de Niro — and that’s probably just in one case, that of convicted Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir.

Lamont sentenced Krejcir to 25 years for drug-dealing, 15 years for kidnapping and another 15 years for attempted murder earlier this year. Krejcir was refused leave to appeal his judgment. The case dealt with a drug smuggling operation gone wrong, with the mule subsequently abducted and tortured by Krejcir and his henchmen.

During Krejcir’s trial a knife was found in court, there was an alleged attempt on Lamont’s life while driving home from the hearings and a bomb scare during sentencing.

In another high profile case, AfriForum and Another v Malema and Others, Lamont ruled in 2011 in the Equality Court, that then President of the ANC Youth League, Julius Malema’s, singing of the struggle song Dhubulu iBhunu at a political rally and other public events constituted hate speech.

He ordered that both Malema and the ANC be interdicted and restrained from singing the song; “at any public or private meeting held by or conducted by them.” This order was later replaced by an agreement between the ANC and AfriForum to engage constructively in fashioning a new way forward.

Some commentators were critical of Lamont’s ruling, and the ANC for not appealing the judgment. It has been argued in the media that an approach to the Supreme Court of Appeal would have deepened the common law around the right to freedom of speech, and its tensions with hate speech, in particular.

Lamont also found against Malema, a commissioner at the Judicial Service Commission, in 2011 when the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters sought to interdict a newspaper from publishing allegations related to questions sent to him at the time.

Noting that Malema had a right not to be defamed, Lamont said he had to also take into account the public’s right to receive information. Having found that Malema had dealt “very superficially with fairly detailed allegations” Lamont ruled that it was in the public’s interest for the story to be published and dismissed the application.

Many of Lamont’s judgments note questions of societal “morality”, whether dealing with hate speech, or instances of rape, as was the case when handing down 17 life sentences to the “Avalon Cemetery Rapist”, Jazzman Rikhotso. Rikhotso was found guilty of raping 11 women and a 12 year-old girl and Lamont noted that he had acted “indiscriminately” and “without concern” for his victims “age or fragility”.

Lamont obtained a BA and an LLB from the University of Witwatersrand in 1972 and 1974 respectively, before joining the Johannesburg Bar in 1975. He was awarded silk in 2003 and appointed to the South Gauteng High Court in May 2007.

Appearing before the commission in 2016 for an Electoral Court position Lamont experienced one of the shortest interviews in the JSC’s history — a convivial and ultimately successful ten minutes.

 

April 2018 Interview Synopsis:

Judge Lamont withdrew his application and was not interviewed for this round.

 

October 2016 Interview: 

October 2016 Interview synopsis:

From bomb scares at court to alleged attempts on his life, South Gauteng High Court Judge Colin Lamont has experienced more aspects of a mafia film than Robert de Niro — and that’s probably just in one case, that of Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir.

Lamont sentenced Krejcir to 25 years for drug-dealing, 15 years for kidnapping and another 15 years for attempted murder earlier this year. Krejcir was refused leave to appeal his judgment. The case dealt with a drug smuggling operation gone wrong, with the mule subsequently abducted and tortured by Krejcir and his henchmen.

During Krejcir’s trial a knife was found in court, there was an alleged attempt on Lamont’s life while driving home from the hearings and a bomb scare during sentencing.

In another high profile case, AfriForum and Another v Malema and Others, Lamont ruled in 2011 in the Equality Court, that then President of the ANC Youth League, Julius Malema’s, singing of the struggle song Dhubulu iBhunu at a political rally and other public events constituted hate speech.

He ordered that both Malema and the ANC be interdicted and restrained from singing the song; “at any public or private meeting held by or conducted by them.” This order was later replaced by an agreement between the ANC and AfriForum to engage constructively in fashioning a new way forward.

Some commentators were critical of Lamont’s ruling, and the ANC for not appealing the judgment. It has been argued in the media that an approach to the Supreme Court of Appeal would have deepened the common law around the right to freedom of speech, and its tensions with hate speech, in particular.

Many of Lamont’s judgments note questions of societal “morality”, whether dealing with hate speech, or instances of rape, as was the case when handing down 17 life sentences to the “Avalon Cemetery Rapist”, Jazzman Rikhotso. Rikhotso was found guilty of raping 11 women and a 12 year-old girl and Lamont noted that he had acted “indiscriminately” and “without concern” for his victims “age or fragility”.

Lamont obtained a BA and an LLB from the University of Witwatersrand in 1972 and 1974 respectively, before joining the Johannesburg Bar in 1975. He was awarded silk in 2003 and appointed to the South Gauteng High Court in May 2007.