PORT ELIZABETH, July 11 – An alleged fake lawyer who spun legal analysis for news organisations for years will now be prosecuted for fraud involving over half a million rand. Brenda Wardle was denied bail in the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court on Monday.
A so-called legal analyst and author, Wardle, 56, was arrested in East London earlier in June after evading court for more than a year.
Wardle shot to fame when she provided international legal analysis on the murder trial of Paralympian Oscar Pistorius. She also appeared on the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) television providing legal analysis to viewers.
On her Facebook profile, she boasts that she wrote a number of books on court cases which include British businessman Shrien Dewani, Legal trials and tribulations of President Jacob Zuma as well as a book on the State verses Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir and a book on the State’s case against Pistorius.
Wardle was back in the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court on Monday, and is charged for allegedly pretending to be a lawyer and offering her ‘services’ to a convicted murder.
According to the State, during April 2009 and August 2013, Wardle was paid R538,766 to assist Stephanus van Aardt for his early release on parole.
The State alleges that Wardle pretended to be an attorney and could not bring an application for Van Aardt’s early release.
Van Aardt, an Eastern Cape dairy farmer in Somerset East, was further not eligible to have his term of imprisonment converted.
In 2007, Van Aardt was convicted of murder and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for the assault and death of a 15-year-old.
During February 2006, Van Aardt assaulted Eliot Magabane, 15, by hitting him with clenched fists, kicking and stamping on him with booted feet and hitting him with a spade. The young boy sustained multiple injuries, major ones which included six broken ribs and brain injuries. He died the following month.
Wardle who is conducting her own defence, is no stranger to the courts and has a previous conviction of fraud. State prosecutor Tjaart van Zyl opposed bail based on Wardle demonstrating a pattern in evading court appearances for other similar cases.
The case against her was postponed until July 27.