Court hears of offensive meeting

2014-07-12 11:29


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Cape Town - An estate agent's offensive use of the "f-word" at a meeting five years ago upset an IT specialist so much that he was still waiting for an apology, a Cape Town court heard on Friday.

Alex Anderson, owner of the IT company, The Business Shop, told the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court about the insult.

He was appearing before magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg on charges of extortion and the unauthorised access to, interception of, or interference with data.

Anderson was engaged by the real estate agency Boland Landmark CC, owned by Jan Phillips, to upgrade Boland Landmark’s website, but Anderson’s mandate was terminated after a fallout with Phillips in October, 2009.

According to the charge sheet, Phillips contacted another IT specialist to continue the upgrade, but the new contractor encountered problems because the registered status of the website’s domain, as well as the service provider, were changed on the system.

Business internet domain

The change prevented Phillips from accessing and updating the information on his website.

Prosecutor Juan Agulhas alleges that Phillips did not authorise the change.

The result was that Phillips could no longer access his business internet domain, and his most effective marketing tool was thus incapacitated.

According to the charge sheet, when Phillips requested Anderson to rectify the change, Anderson allegedly demanded R6 840 that was not due to him.

Agulhas alleges that Phillips paid the money, nevertheless, hoping Anderson would rectify the change, but Anderson failed to do so.

Abusive word

It was only after the dispute was referred to Domain Dispute Resolution Regulations, that Phillips’s access to and control over his business domain was restored.

At Friday’s proceedings, Anderson told of a telephone call he received from “a petulant” Phillips in October 2009, when Phillips demanded his presence in Phillips’ office.

As Anderson entered the office, he said Phillips shouted "the f word" at him, and that one word was the sum total of their discussion, Anderson said.

Anderson said he immediately walked out of the office, and demanded an apology from Phillips, which, to this day, he had not received.

Agulhas said Phillips in fact apologised to the staff for his use of the abusive word.

Anderson said this might be so, but Phillips had not yet apologised to him.

Anderson added: “If I was not sworn at, this case would never have happened.”

'I'm not prepared to swear'

Anderson said he did not smoke or drink, “and I am not prepared to swear”.

The magistrate said it was unacceptable to merely say that Phillips used the "f" word - Anderson had to either repeat the word in court, or spell it out. Anderson chose to spell it.

Anderson told the court: “When he used that word at me, rage got hold of me, and I had to control myself - either walk away, or do something I would be sorry about afterwards.

“He started swearing at me without even greeting me or anything,” he lamented.

The prosecutor said business people use the “f” word regularly.

Anderson replied: "I have never used that word to a client, and no one has ever disrespected me like that. I walk away from such company.”

The case continues on 31 July.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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