Ricochet News

Controversial Oscar Pistorius legal analyst faces new fraud charges in Port Elizabeth court

JULY 22, 2015
Controversial Oscar Pistorius legal analyst faces new fraud charges in Port Elizabeth court

Popular legal analyst and commentator, Brenda Wardle, is reportedly to appear at the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court this week facing fraud charges after she allegedly pretended to be a qualified attorney and offered to assist a convicted murderer to be released on parole.

Allegations are that she was paid more than R500 000 but did not deliver on the services resulting in the courts issuing a warrant for her arrest. The charge was made at the Kabega Park police station in PE.

Wardle, who was born in East London, has previously featured in local and international media offering legal analysis in high profile cases - including during the Oscar Pistorius trial.

Not new to controversy

In January, Wardle appeared at the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court facing two charges of fraud and theft - after she was accused of  impersonating an attorney and faking court orders. She was granted bail of R10 000.

She is accused of defrauding an Eskom employee of R42 000 in legal fees, faked court orders and claimed she had won a settlement of R6.2 million from Eskom on the employee’s behalf. A warrant of arrest was issued against Wardle and she was arrested in December last year.

It was after the client had complained to the Law Society of South Africa that it was realised that Wardle was not a qualified attorney.

In another case of fraud against Wardle, she is due to appear in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on August 26 after the case was postponed for disclosure of the contents of the docket and the charge sheet in preparation for the trial.

The charges are that Wardle allegedly defrauded Mortimer Harvey (Pty) Limited of R70 000 for flight tickets to the J&B Met in Cape Town in 2011.

Wardle was previously convicted on 97 counts of fraud and sentenced to an effective eight-year jail term. She was sentenced in 2001 and released on parole in 2005.

According to her online profiles, she holds three law degrees, the highest being a Master of Law, and is currently registered towards a Doctor of Laws Degree. She is also the Chief Operations Officer at the Wardle College of Law.

Innocent of allegations

Early in July, Wardle sought to dismiss the fraud allegations against her.

"The current fraud cases are still but allegations and I’m in no position to divulge the extent of my defense save to say that I am of the firm belief that I shall not be found guilty because I’m innocent," she told City Press.

Image: Screen grab of Brenda Wardle offering legal insights during the Oscar Pistorius sentencing to the BBC.