Amanda Watson
News Editor
3 minute read
28 Nov 2014
3:22 pm

Trolls target Dewani judge

Amanda Watson

Western Province Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso is being slammed by people from around the globe for her handling of Shrien Dewani’s murder trial.

FILE PICTURE: A member of the ANC Women's League protests outside the court holding a picture of murdered Anni Dewani, during the appearance of British businessman Shrien Dewani at the Western Cape High Court, 08 April 2014. Picture: EPA

The vitriol exploded on a Facebook page called Anni Hindocha (aka Dewani) – What Really Happened, who the State is alleging was killed by her common-law husband Dewani in 2010.

“About time something should be done about that b***h. She’s clearly been paid! (sic)” said Michelle Frank on the page in response to a petition calling for the judges recusal.

The petition to Minister of Justice advocate Michael Masutha stated Traverso “disallowed key evidence related to the murder charge and motive from being presented and related witnesses testifying.”

It also said the judge was “aggressive and openly rude towards the State Prosecutor while being friendly and assisting towards the Defence lawyer”.

“Will do whatever it takes to get rid of this filthy one sided judge. I’ll sign the patition (sic),” said Sunil Sachdev on Facebook.

A minority urged caution but still slammed the entire system. “The problem here is not the judge, blame it on the NPA and incompetency of the SAPS. If they cannot proof their case, we cannot blame the judge. And, further Dewani has an excellent advocate, (sic)” wrote Fouchini Maartens.

The petition called for Traverso’s recusal, an investigation into her conduct, and a re-trial with a fresh judge.

Sneha Mashru - Dewani cousin Justice for Dewani

“All particulars of her failures and bias are fully documented in [a] dossier which is being submitted to the Minister of Justice,” the petition read.

“Great news also let’s hope the retrial will be televised, get rid of this biased bitch and let’s hope SA do bring this cock sucker behind bars for life where he belongs !! (sic) ,” said Raj Budsy Budweiser.

Attorney Fawzia Khan said defamation could be broadly defined as the intentional and wrongful publication of a statement which causes harm to another person’s name, reputation and dignity. “Basically this means saying something insulting and degrading to someone else about another causing damage to that person’s name and reputation,” Khan explained.

“In law, the word publication has a specific meaning and thus is not restricted to the general meaning we may understand it to be. It simply means that the defamatory statement was read or heard by someone else.

“In the context of online defamation this would include all social network platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, as well as websites, blogs, chat rooms or online forum discussions.”

An administrator from the page told The Citizen, “A husband-to-be tells a witness that he “needs to find a way out of a marriage”. A few months later his bride is brutally murdered.

“He walked away unhurt, he refused to identify the killers to police or tell them about money he left in the car, and he was caught on CCTV 2 days after the murder paying the killer taxi driver with money hidden in a white bag.

“How is the testimony of that witness, Leopold Leisser, irrelevant? No reasonable judge in the world would think so. Traverso has gone too far.”

Khan warned even indicating a “like it” post or “re-tweeting” the defamatory comment to others within their social network group, would also be considered defamatory.

Justice for Anni page administrators have asked people not to insult Traverso on the page.

The petition has even gathered the attention of Hindocha’s cousin, Lily. “Incredible that a petition for justice for my cousin Anni is gathering signatures from all corners of the world within minutes,” she said on social media platform Twitter.

Read more here

Twitter not really free-for-all – Legal expert

‘She is Anni Hindocha, not Dewani’