Cape Town – The lawyer representing activist Colin Arendse in a criminal defamation case in the Mitchells Plain Magistrate’s court has filed an application to have the charges against his client withdrawn.
Winston Erasmus, appearing for Arendse, contends that the evidence presented by the complainant, former police Major-General Greg Goss, is of such poor quality that it can’t be relied on.
The application for discharge was handed in on Thursday after the State concluded its case.
Arendse is facing four counts of criminal defamation relating to alleged slanderous social media posts and emails he made about Goss. Arendse allegedly posted on Facebook that he was not at all “surprised that the incident occurred under the watch of that local village idiot major general Goss”.
He is also alleged to have sent an email that Goss was “non compos mentis” and unable to fulfil his duties as a commissioner police officer”.
In addition, it’s claimed that he posted a picture on Facebook with the caption: “Major-General Goss one of the most corrupt members of our SA Police Services”.
He also allegedly sent an email stating: “Goss is a corrupt police official and is involved in or is associated with corrupt activities”.
Arendse denied the allegations against him. On the admissibility of evidence relating to the Facebook post, it was Erasmus’ submission that merely accessing the site and establishing what was observed on the screen was not enough to authenticate the post.
“Parties offering such evidence must establish who owns the site, what actually appeared or was displayed on the Facebook site.
“While the page had the Arendse name and photograph on it, it was insufficient to establish that my client had created the site,” he argued.
The magistrate will deliver a ruling on Thursday, October 24.