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At 10am on Friday judge John Hlophe will be outdoing himself. The judge president of the Western Cape High Court is slated to present an event that, even for him, must be uniquely ironic. He, of all people, will be officiating at a formal ceremony that celebrates the integrity of our judicial process.

Judge Hlophe is often in the headlines. Allegations of misconduct have been levelled against him for more than a decade, yet he has managed to sidestep the consequences. In January, however, things took a turn for the worse when his deputy filed a litany of complaints against him. One of these, vehemently denied by the judge, was that he had confronted a colleague, Judge Mushtak Parker, in his chambers and assaulted him. Judge Parker supported his judge president’s denial, but unfortunately for both of them it transpired that Judge Parker had not only told several of his colleagues about an assault but had recorded his complaint in an affidavit at the time...

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