Volcère found guilty of contempt and asked to apologise


26-October-2012

The apologies should appear in two subsequent issues of his newspaper within four weeks and failing to apologise, Mr Volcère will be liable to pay R10,000 fine which if not paid will cause the court to seize his property adding up to that value.

Mr Volcère was accused under section 114 of the Penal Code of (i) attempting to prejudice Court of Appeal judge Matilda Twomey, (ii) calculating to lower her authority and (iii) showing intentional disrespect to the judicial proceedings in which the Court of Appeal was hearing a Popular Democratic Movement’s petition against a ruling of the Constitutional Court.

He was said to have done so through an article he published on December 9, 2011 under the heading: ‘Dirty tactics to get David Pierre into the Assembly’.

In an interview with Nation yesterday, Mr Volcère said he is unlikely to apologise “because what I had written had been proved to be facts (he did not say by who),” but added he would consult his lawyer and other “key people” and let his decision known today.

In mitigation, Mr Volcère told Mr Dodin he did not want any mercy from the court.
Attorney general Rony Govinden – who prosecuted in the case – told the local media that the court’s decision was a landmark judgment as it shows people that while they have the right to express their opinions, there is a limit to which they can legally do so, especially with regard to commenting on matters before a court of law.

He however explained that there are several types of contempt of court cases, saying this kind referred to something done outside the court but touching on matters before it, while the primary type refers to disrespecting the court during proceedings in the court.

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