Magistrate with conflict of interest recuses himself from Catzavelos k-word case

05 August 2019 - 12:39 By NOMAHLUBI JORDAAN
Adam Catzavelos has been charged with hate speech in connection with a derogatory video recorded in Greece.
Adam Catzavelos has been charged with hate speech in connection with a derogatory video recorded in Greece.
Image: Alon Skuy/Sunday Times

A magistrate set to preside over Adam Catzavelos' hate speech case in the Equality Court on Monday has recused himself, citing a conflict of interest.

Magistrate Naren Sewnarain once worked with Catzavelos' lawyer, Lawley Shein.

The case was postponed to August 29.

South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) Gauteng manager Buang Jones said the organisation had applied for Sewnarain to recuse himself.

"We applied for the recusal of the magistrate, and he agreed to step aside after we raised his previous working relationship with Mr Catzavelos' lawyer," he said.

Catzavelos faces charges of hate speech and discrimination.

The SAHRC filed a complaint in the Equality Court against Catzavelos after his racist video rant in 2018, recorded on a beach in Greece, was leaked via WhatsApp.

The commission wants Catzavelos to apologise for his remarks and pay at least R200‚000 to a charitable organisation.

Catzavelos is also facing a charge of crimen injuria in Greece and South Africa.

Greek authorities confirmed previously that they were charging Catzavelos for having‚ via the internet‚ “incited‚ provoked‚ excited or encouraged acts or actions which may cause discrimination‚ hatred or violence".

He was being charged abroad as his offensive views were posted on YouTube‚ which was accessible on Greek territory. The k-word was also regarded as derogatory in Greece.

Catzavelos’s trial in the Randburg magistrate’s court for crimen injuria was postponed on Wednesday to August 29.


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