Prominent lawyer heads to court to quash sexual assault, rape allegations

2017-09-09 07:23
High Court. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

High Court. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Johannesburg - A prominent Johannesburg lawyer has dashed to the high court, seeking to secure an order “silencing” a woman who claims he raped and sexually harassed her while she was employed as a candidate attorney at his firm.

The lawyer, who once worked as a clerk at the Constitutional Court, says while the woman has not actually named him in her social media posts, everyone knows that she is pointing the finger of blame at him.

He has been confronted by clients and believes his business and his reputation are under threat because he has been labelled a rapist - an allegation he denies.

Seeking an interdict against her in the Johannesburg High Court on Friday, the matter was however adjourned to an undetermined date to allow both sides to get their papers in order.

In court papers, the lawyer wanted a Johannesburg High Court Judge to hear his application as a matter of urgency and interdict the woman from continuing with the allegations and from making statements inferring that he was “powerful, corrupt, influential and well connected” and can influence authorities from acting against him.

He also wanted the court to order that she remove all her allegations from social media and issue a public apology for “defaming” him.

The woman, 26, is expected to oppose the application but has yet to file papers. It is believed she turned to social media after the law society failed to take action in spite of her submitting a complaint in which she set out in detail her allegations of continuous sexual harassment and then rape.

CCMA

She has also launched an action at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) this month complaining that she was unfairly dismissed.

In his affidavit, the attorney says he is a “philanthropist“ and a highly-spiritual person.

He says he employed the woman - a graduate - from January last year and she resigned three times, always asking to be reinstated, before her “final resignation” in May this year.

He claims she is “emotionally unstable” and prone to outbursts “which created an unhappy environment in the office”.

On May 29, he alleges she had another emotional outburst and resigned, transmitting a message to the office manager saying “...I am leaving. I am fucking sick and tired. The shit he was saying to me...Please call him and tell him I have the file and I’m in the foyer”.

The lawyer said he presumed the message related to his having scolded her regarding a work issue and his decision to charge her with insubordination.

“I think she resigned for fear of being dismissed. We accepted it and asked her to leave immediately.”

He said she had sent him a text message saying “throwing me in the street like a dog is hurtful and uncalled for…”

The next day she sent a message saying she would report for duty as usual.

He wrote back, “Do leave us in peace...and be reminded that God prevails over evil. Choose to sleep at night, leave the broom alone..”

15 Months

He said two weeks later he was contacted by her aunt asking that she be rehired but he had refused and suggested she go to the CCMA if she was aggrieved.

“But now she wants to paint a picture (on social media) that she left my employ due to me demanding that she has sex with me. What is mind-boggling is just how she is fighting to be re-employed at the same law firm where she was a victim of sexual harassment and rape. She resigned four times but came back to work for the rapist. I find this astonishing,” he said.

He said the woman’s brother was once a very senior official in the office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions.

“When she left, she threatened that he would deal with me. She also said she would ‘get me back’.

But the lawyer said the brother had never intervened. And it took her 15 months to report the `’so-called rape`’ to the authorities.

The lawyer says the social media campaign is being conducted by the woman who is conspiring with a “politically connected friend”, a disgruntled former client whom he alleges once made sexual advances to him “to pay her legal bill” which he rebuffed.

In her tweets, his accuser calls him “devil” and says “my silence almost killed me”. 

“This is why rape victims keep quiet. We get blamed then chastised for speaking out. I’m being accused of lies and being bullied as well,” she posted.

Unending sexual thirst

Another post reads, “A promising start that every candidate attorney yearns for only to be made a mattress by a BLACK attorney with an unending sexual thirst.”

The attorney said he had been called by clients, other attorneys and members of the Bar about the tweets and, while he was not named, “it was clear that based on their knowledge of our working relationship, they knew I was the subject of the malicious posts”.

He said the issue has been aired on a radio station and recently, “threatening phone calls” were being made to the office.

“I did not rape her or sexually harass her. I am the victim. These issues can be dealt with through the authorities, through the NPA, without the need to attack me on social media,” he said.

“I have had to explain to eight of my clients about the issues relating to the attacks on social media. I am quite embarrassed….they are wiping away the good name I have worked tirelessly to build and replacing it with the image of a racist, which I am not.”

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