NPA preparing for hate speech jurisdiction dispute
The NPA believes that Adam Catzavelos – who caused an uproar after using the K-word in a video – had a case to answer in SA, despite the alleged offence being committed in Greece.
‘Firstly, what informs a prosecutor, whether or not a matter should be placed on the roll, is we have to detect if there are prospects of a successful prosecution,’ said the NPA's Phindi Mjonondwane.
‘Now that has been done, the issue of jurisdiction is a matter that will be ventilated at court and the prosecutor who decided on the matter was well aware that this issue will obviously come up and has prepared an argument that will be heard in court.’
A TimesLIVE report notes Catzavelos briefly appeared in the Randburg Magistrate's Court on a count of crimen injuria yesterday. He is expected back in court on 13 June.
Meanwhile Catzavelos is yet to find a lawyer to represent him. He told the court he would be getting his own attorney and would not need a representative from Legal Aid, News24 reports.
While Catzavelos was appearing on criminal charges, the SA Human Rights Commission was also bringing its own case against him in the Equality Court. SAHRC Gauteng manager Buang Jones said they were asking the court to declare Catzavelos' comments hate speech, and to fine him.
'Equality courts were established to assist victims of unfair discrimination. This is the most under-utilised court in the republic,' Jones said.
He said the commission had also considered the issue of jurisdiction, which may be raised by Catzavelos' legal team.
'We are ready and we will make our own submission concerning why we think that this court is best placed to adjudicate over this matter,' he said. Jones added that hate speech did not need to be directed at a specific person, but also a group. In this instance, the 'K-word', given the apartheid history of SA, was demeaning to black people, he added.
'Courts in SA, including the Constitutional Court, have pronounced on this matter. We find this unbecoming and hope the court will send a clear message to deter other people from making similar racial slurs,' said Jonas.
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