Advocate Peter Daubermann has condemned the actions of a crowd of protesters who chased him outside the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday.
Daubermann is defence counsel for Timothy Omotoso, who is accused of raping Cheryl Zondi.
The protesters threw water at Daubermann and chanted “Stand in defence of Cheryl!” as he made a hasty exit.
“I’m sure it is a form of attempted intimidation. It’s never happened to me before,” Daubermann told News24 on Thursday.
He incurred the wrath of Zondi’s supporters, following a sharp cross-examination in which he implied that she was a willing participant in her alleged rape and molestation.
“Most people don’t know what the job of an attorney is,” Daubermann fumed.
“I will never allow myself to be intimidated by ignorant people who do not know what’s going on.”
In his line of questioning, Daubermann asked Zondi why she did not take opportunities to escape from the house and how deep Omotoso had penetrated her.
Judge Mandela Makaula intervened, saying that the questions were inappropriate.
“Generally, the judge is supposed to be impartial to make sure that unfair questions are not asked,” Daubermann said.
“It’s the prosecutor’s duty to object if he believes that his witness is being treated unfairly. It’s the judge’s job to rule on the objection.”
‘Outrageous how women have been treated’
Many people viewed Daubermann’s line of questioning during the cross-examination of the witness as unsympathetic towards women survivors of sexual violence.
“A black female lawyer, for example, who herself has experienced sexual violence, would not ask a survivor of sexual violence how many centimetres she had been penetrated. Neither would she imply that the witness was ‘willing to be raped’, as Daubermann has insinuated,” wrote Minister of Women in the Presidency Bathabile Dlamini.
However, Daubermann rejected the condemnation of his conduct, arguing that he, in fact, supported women and gender rights.
“I understand fully where they (critics) are coming from. It is outrageous how women have been treated and abused. I support women’s rights 100%.”
Regarding Zondi, Daubermann said: “She does need to be supported, I don’t have a problem with that.”