Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has defended decisions made by two judges in recent high-profile trials, news channel eNCA reported on Monday.
Judges Thokozile Masipa and Jeanette Traverso faced criticism and even death threats after they acquitted paralympian Oscar Pistorius and British businessman Shrien Dewani, respectively, of murder.
“I think it was vicious, I think judges must be criticised, we expect them to be critical of us, but I think there is just a line that we shouldn’t cross. We shouldn’t be personal,” Mogoeng told the channel.
“It evokes our emotions and we expect a particular outcome and nothing else.
“But even when a proper analysis of the facts and the law leads a magistrate or a judge to a conclusion that is different to that which we expected, then we begin to suspect foul play. We begin to suspect that there is something wrong with the judge,” he said.
Mogoeng also defended Judge President John Hlope’s imminent marriage to a junior judge saying he doubted Hlophe would give her preferential treatment.
“I don’t think any of us should seek to interfere with true love, but I just can’t imagine any normal judge seeking to keep his or her spouse lazy, doing nothing, denying her the opportunity to develop herself by not allocating her work,” he told the broadcaster.