Acquit alleged Spear defacer - lawyer

2013-05-15 20:08
(Picture: City Press)

(Picture: City Press)

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Johannesburg - A man accused of defacing Brett Murray's artwork "The Spear" with black paint must be acquitted, his lawyer Johan Spangenberg said on Wednesday.

"A reasonable man can't convict the accused," he told the Hillbrow Magistrate's Court.

"There must be a complainant, an owner, to testify before you [the magistrate], and say 'my property is damaged and the accused had no right to do so'," said Spangenberg.

His client, Louis Mabokela, is on trial for defacing the painting, which depicts President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed, at the Goodman Gallery in May last year.

Using his hands, he smeared black paint over the artwork right after Barend La Grange painted a red cross over Zuma's exposed genitals and face.

The Limpopo taxi driver faces a charge of malicious damage to property. He refused to pay a R1 000 fine - which Le Grange paid.

Spangenberg said even the gallery employees could not claim damages against his client, as they had no substantial interest in the painting.

According to the charge sheet, the Goodman Gallery was said to be the owner of the painting.

"The Goodman Gallery is a building and there is no indication if it's owned by a person," he said.

Spangenberg argued that Murray had not laid charges against Mabukela or tried to have the painting removed from the gallery.

When the painting was sold, the new owner had not complained about the black paint smeared on it.

"The owner bought it and wasn't fazed. It [the painting] now hangs somewhere... probably in his house," he said.

"It seems he didn't even ask for a discount."

He said the painting had in fact increased in value after it was defaced.

The matter was postponed to Friday to allow an interpreter to relay Spangenberg's application.

Read more on:    brett murray  |  louis mabokela  |  zuma painting

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