Nkosi Rogers Attorneys manipulating urgency & time frames
We argue that Nkosi Rogers Attorneys representing Robert Stransham-Ford manipulated the time frames of the urgent court application to make it difficult for the opponents to prepare. They have failed to answer our allegation.
Please see below news articles and correspondence showing the case was planned 6 months beforehand, but Nkosi Rogers attorneys refused to provide their affidavits or even draft affidavits despite repeated requests until 3 working days before their urgent court application. We argue this was an unethical attempt to manipulate the legal process and under the circumstances they should not have been granted urgent trial which prejudiced the opposition.
Campaign for assisted suicide heads to ConCourt 2014-08-21
Dignity SA web site 23 April 2015
Stransham-Ford given a few months to live 21 September 2014
Boasting after legal manipulations
Despite their unethical manipulation of the urgency time frames and sloppy affidavit containing multiple errors, and the weak argument in court noted by The Times journalist present, Nkosi Rogers Attorneys advertised their ‘win’ on Google Adwords!
Fri 2015/05/08 4:43 PM
Dear Ms Buitendag
I am not satisfied with the answer below and request that you properly answer these questions which is now an issue of national importance and which I believe you and Dignity SA manipulated the time frames in the provision of information to others, in a manner which did not give opportunity for the facts or arguments of the case to be properly considered – and that the judge erred in agreeing to this. I have forwarded this correspondence to certain journalists covering the case and request you answer them for the public media record and the appeal.
From: sally [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 24 April 2015 08:09 AM
Subject: FW: Questions relating to urgency on provision of court papers on Dignity SA case for 28 April 2015
We note the contents and recipients of your email dated 23 April 2015. We do not intend to deal with all of the allegations contained in your email and our failure to do so should not be construed as an admission, concession, election or acquiescence of any nature whatsoever.
We do not wish to become involved in a debate with you, nor litigate by way of correspondence.
Sally Buitendag (Rogers)
NKOSI ROGERS ATTORNEYS & CONVEYANCERS
Tel: (011) 534 8455
Mobile: (082) 815 0803
Fax: (086) 767 8803
From: ChristianView Network [mailto:mail@ChristianView.org]
Sent: 23 April 2015 02:49 PM
Cc: email@example.com; Arno@lawmen.co.za; ‘lee’
Subject: Questions relating to urgency on provision of court papers on Dignity SA case for 28 April 2015
Dear Mrs Buitendag
With respect to my request for a copy of the draft court papers that were available yesterday (below) and my follow up phone call of 12:13 yesterday:
* I explained that I was writing articles for ChristianView Network newsletter that were sometimes also re-published on various web sites.
* You asked whether I would be giving a copy to Doctors for Life.
* I responded that:
– I was not a member of Doctors for Life
– That they were on my mailing list
– I thought that if the affidavits were public information once filed, this should not make any difference who received the information, but that if you gave an embargo, I would respect that.
You said that you need to consult with your legal team before deciding whether to provide the information.
* I have not yet received a copy of the affidavits from yourself or from Dignity SA, despite requesting them repeatedly since 10 April 2015 (see below), various promises from Dignity SA to send them to me, with the reason provided that Dignity SA was still waiting for certain medical affidavits (also stated in Para 56 of your Affidavit).
TIMELINE RELATING TO URGENCY
* The applicant (Para 17.1) states in his Affadavit that he was provisionally diagnosed with cancer on 19 February 2013.
* The applicant states in his affidavit (paragraph 50-51) that he has been in communication with the public advocacy group Dignity SA on the case since November 2014 and with legal counsel since March 2015.
* Dignity SA announced their intention to take a case to the Constitutional Court on 21 August 2014 in the media.
* The legal part of the affidavit was finalised by 7 April 2015 (paragraph 55).
* 18 April 2015, Dignity SA annouces having a case number.
* I have receipt of a copy of an email from Robin Twaddle Attorneys to Doctors for Life legal representatives dated 22 April 2015 04:22 PM.
* I note that your affadavit filed on 22 April 2015 (page 78-80) includes copies of notice of motion emails from yourself to the four cited respondents with the Founding Affidavit and ten attachments sent on Friday 17th April 2015 at 13:00.
* The application paragraph 5, requests notification of the applicants attourney by 16:00 on 20 April 2015 of notice to oppose the motion and answering affadvits by 22 April 2015 and then argues the need to further escallate the urgency should the applicants medical condition worsen.
1. Please could you confirm that my record of our conversation above is a fair summary of our conversation or otherwise correct it.
I request please if you could explain:
2. Given the stated urgency of the application, why if these papers were provided to the four respondents at 13:00 on Friday 17 April 2015 (although printed on Monday 20 April 15), they were only made available to other interested parties several days later on 22 April 2015 04:22 PM?
3. Why did you ask me whether I would be sending a copy to Doctors for Life?
4. Why should the question of whether I share the information with Doctors for Life make any material difference to the decision to provide it?
5. Is it agreed as common cause that:
– As stated in numerous public media communications of Dignity SA on social media (Facebook, Twitter and as reported in the press).
– Telephonically confirmed on 10 April 2015.
– As referred to in paragraph 50 and 51 of your Founding Affidvit that the case is not one simply of private relief for the interests of Mr Robert Stransham-Ford, but is in fact being brought by Dignity SA to establish a precedent and develop the common law?
6. If your legal team were delayed in waiting for medical affidavits, as explained to me, and if the case is urgent, then:
6.1 Why could they not provide the other information in the interim (e.g.
legal argument and available medical information)?
6.2 If your employed medical team was not able to comply with your urgency requirements for your own affidavits, is it reasonable to expect:
– the four cited legal respondents,
– the amicus
– and other interested parties
to comply with your demand for responding affidavits within a time frame shorter (3 working days) than that provided to your medical team?
6.3 Your affidavit states (para 56) that the reason for the delay was that the medical practitioner wished to obtain his own legal advice before filing his affidavit.
– The question is if this medical practioner should be fairly allowed time to take legal advice (which apparently delayed the matter at least fifteen days from 7 April 2015 and 22 April 2015), should not other respondents and potential respondents also be allowed at least equal time to take legal advice?
– Would not the granting of the requested level of urgency then prejudice the legal rights of the respondents and potential other respondents and amici in a manner that unfairly benefits the applicant?
7 OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES
7.1 Is your legal team aware of the fact that there are numerous other organisations not cited as respondents which have made submissions to the state (e.g. the South African Law Reform Commission) and statements in the public media in the past on:
– on the issue of the legalisation of assisted suicide specifically.
– on the sanctity of human life in general.
– on the rights of healthcare workers
that may be affected by the case and may wish to respond to it?
7.2 If so, why have you not also notified these other interested organisations of your intention to file this lawsuit to give them an opportunity to respond?
7.3 Why you withhold information from myself as a newsletter writer covering the issue, which would potentially alert other interested parties, who may wish to respond to the case.
8. Would you agree as common cause that:
8.1 An organisation needs to read the founding affidavit before deciding whether to file as a respondent or amicus in a case?
8.2 A legal representative needs to read the founding affidavit, before agreeing to represent a client in the case, especially if they are acting pro-bono?
9. Dignity SA initially announced the urgent court date on social media for
21 April 2015 and then delayed to 28 April 2015.
9.1 If you were able to delay this by a week, in order for the doctor to obtain legal advice, while it was previously stated as urgent, why is it suddenly again urgent this week, but in fact not really so urgent as you previously thought, last week?
10.1 Did you decide to refuse to provide me with the available Affidavit on the risk that I might share this with Doctors for life?
10.2 Whether you deliberately sought to withhold the draft Affidavits from other interested parties (including myself and Doctors for Life), while at the same time arguing urgency in the Affidavit in order to deny other potential respondents the opportunity to prepare a defence to the application?
10.3 Are you seeking to manipulate the legal process through an argument of urgency to create an advantage to your case?
* Given your stated urgency of the application to be heard on the morning of 28 April 2015, and your demands to the respondents to respond to you urgently by deadlines that have already passed, I request that you urgently respond to these questions within 24 hours by 15:00 Friday 24 April 2015.
* As stated previously, I intend writing an article on the subject, and specifically wish to address this matter of the urgency of the application and the questions above that relate.