Robert McBride demands answers, mulls legal action

South Africa
Robert McBride was arrested in 2006 after crashing his official car on the R511 following a year-end party. He's since been acquitted, and is mulling action against his accusers. eNCA

Johannesburg - "The worms came out of the woodwork. Life is about the card you're dealt and I played a good card... they drew a bad one."

This is how former Ekhuruleni metro police boss, Robert McBride described his protracted legal battle to clear his name.

On Friday in the Pretoria High Court, the State lost its bid to appeal against his acquittal on charges of drunken driving and attempting to obstruct justice, bringing to an end a seven-year legal battle.

McBride was arrested in December 2006 after crashing his official vehicle after a Christmas party on the R511 near Hartbeespoort Dam.

The court found that the State had attacked factual findings and not questions of law that should be considered by the Supreme Court of Appeal.

In September 2011, McBride was sentenced to five years' imprisonment, but he appealed  this.

However, in March this year he was acquitted and his five-year prison sentence was set aside, on the grounds that the State had not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Speaking at his farm outside Fourways, McBride said he wants answers.

"I feel exonerated. I am not guilty, but I need closure. Senior police officers behaved in a way they shouldn't and someone will have to answer. My rights have been violated and I need to address that. My legal team is assessing the best route to do this," a relaxed McBride said.

His former colleagues Stanley Sagathevan, Patrick Johnson and Itumeleng Koko testified against him. They initially said McBride was not drunk and then allegedly changed their statements after receiving immunity on another matter they were criminally implicated in.

McBride said he did not harbour any resentment towards them.

"I pity them in a way as they got caught up in something they could not understand that was much bigger to nail me."

McBride has maintained that the police's Organised Crime Unit (OCU) intimidated Sagathevan, Johnson and Koko to testify against him and change their version of events.

"Evidence was fabricated, thats a fact, they lied in court and that's it.

He labelled the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) as "petty and vindictive" for appealing the high court's decision.

"I want answers. This was a single motor vehicle accident where no one but me was hurt yet the case was persued. I was charged 7 months after the incident for drunken driving when there was no evidence of this. No blood tests or breathalyser was done and they took the word of self confessed liars."

McBride said: "The last seven years have taken its toll, the die has been cast and I'm still on the battle field. This judgment changed their version. In their ignorance, they decided to make me a scapegoat."

He added: "The legal fees have been exhaustive. I owe a lot to my family, friends and comrades. Everything I have said has been upheld in court, if only they had believed me earlier. But this has made me stronger and more determined to take on corruption with tenacity."

Watch the exclusive on-camera interview with McBride above.










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