Adam Catzavelos — will he or won’t he be prosecuted?
THE prospects that businessperson Adam Catzavelos can be prosecuted for a racial slur that he made in a viral video taken in Greece, are slim, a legal expert has said.
In the video, Catzavelos records himself at a holiday spot in Greece, saying: “Not one k***** in sight, f****** heaven on Earth … You cannot beat this!”
Tarin Page, an associate at HJW Attorneys, said that essentially, in law, the rule is that the country where the offence is committed has the jurisdiction to prosecute.
“In this case, Greece does not have the same laws pertaining to racism as South Africa, and therefore his racist rant is not considered a crime in Greece,” Page said.
Catzavelos is expected to appear in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on May 28 where it is believed that he will face a crimen injuria charge.
However, Page said if such a racial slur was a crime in Greece, he could have been extradited to South Africa to be prosecuted here.
She added that while there is no law in Greece regarding racism, amendments to an anti-racism bill were passed four years ago.
Page said if Catzavelos had recorded the video, which went viral, while he was in South Africa, then there would be a possibility that he could be charged in terms of the Electronic Communications Act.
However, from the circumstances, it appears that the video was recorded and posted in Greece, she added.
Page said Catzavelos’ case is unusual because it was streamed worldwide, including in South Africa. “As such, some experts think that this may be an exception to the general rule which could possibly give SA jurisdiction,” she said.
But René Koraan, a senior lecturer at the law Adam Catzavelos. PHOTO: FACEBOOK faculty of North West University, is of the view that it doesn’t matter that Catzavelos was out of the country when he used the k-word; nor whether it might not be an offence in that country.
“It comes down to domicile [place of residence], so jurisdiction will be in South Africa. And if you look at the word itself, I don’t think [Catzavelos] was referring to any other group of people in any other place or country.”
However, lawyer and social media expert Emma Sadlier said that it was an infringement of Catzavelos’ privacy that the video was taken from a WhatsApp group, and that he himself had not posted it on social media. “It’s a valid infringement,” she said. “There are two defences to privacy infringement: consent and public interest. There’s a lot of public interest in rooting out racism,” she said.
The South African Human Rights Commission is also investigating the matter following the incident.
In addition, the EFF also laid a charge of crimen injuria against Catzavelos. — News24.