“I’m your nightmare,” Andre Loots said in an email to a senior lawyer in Johannesburg in May 2021.
It was one of 54 offensive messages that the wealthy businessman sent to the lawyer and sent his lawyers for over six weeks before he was temporarily stopped by a temporary interdict.
When the 63-year-old from Montagu in the Western Cape resumed emailing despite the interdict, he was arrested for flouting the Court fined R70,000 with a Penalty Order.
Now the interdict has become final and Loots has been ordered to pay the legal costs of the lawyer he attacked, who was involved in court hearings by a senior counsel and a Junior Counsel.
The case is one of several originating in a divorce dispute between the attorney and his estranged wife, who the attorney says is having an affair with Loots.
J ohannesburg High Court Judge Avrille Maier-Frawley said after she filed for divorce, the solicitor faced the following:
- An application by a Worcester Magistrates Court for an interim protection order, which was later dropped was;
- A criminal case involving alleged theft of documents, which the national prosecutor’s office did not want to pursue;
- An application by a district court in Johannesburg for a protection order which was dismissed with costs; and
- An application by a district court in Randburg for a protection order, which was dismissed.
Johannesburg High Court Judge Ingrid Opperman ruled in November 2021 disregard for a court case Loots launched an email campaign against the lawyer, citing “malice, revenge, harassment and unbridled intent to do as much damage to the [lawyer’s] reputation and dignity and cause him as much grief as possible /p>
In the most recent case, Maier-Frawley’s verdict is peppered with examples of insults directed at the lawyer by Loots by copying his estranged wife and lawyers on both sides, as well as comments that he made lawyers in emails to the lawyer.
The judge also barred the lawyer’s estranged wife, saying she was clearly part of the abuse her husband suffered because she was asking to get away from it to distance, ignored.
” If [she] disagreed with the content of [Loots]’s derogatory communications, or she did not subscribe to his views or agree with his methods, she would have been expected to expressly and would have said in no uncertain terms,” Maier-Frawley said.
“You would have expected that as well, that she would stop feeding [Loots] information that he… continued to use as uses a weapon.
“The conclusion is inevitable that they have banded together against [her husband] with the common goal of harassing, intimidating, berating his dignity with defamatory statements and undermine, and last but not least, to try, with [Loots]’s support, to secure [her husband]’s arrest.”
The judge said Loots had “herself Granted the right to launch an unlawful defamation campaign in which he slandered the person, character and disparaged [the attorney’s] reputation”.< /p>
She added: “In doing so, he displayed a profound lack of restraint and/or self-control, all under the pretense of showing his own honor defend and offer [the attorneys] support and assistance to [his wife] ostensibly in defense of her honor. However, no measured or legally accountable approach was taken.
“There is nothing to indicate that such behavior will not continue unless curbed by a permanent prohibition.”
< p>The verdict is quoted in many legal letters the attorney wrote to Loots and his attorneys to stop the abuse and an email he sent directly to Loots.
In it he said: “I take note that your brother, accompanied by another burly fellow, visited me earlier… needless to say you were absent from action shows what a coward you are, clearly lacking in courage …
“[Your brother] said you sent him to find out if I intended to harm you physically… I pointed out to him that I have never threatened you with physical harm as it is not my nature and I do not have a history of violence or abuse, physical or verbal.
“But if either of you sets foot on my land again, I’m ready to learn…that it’s not a threat, just a statement…stay off my country and away from me, you and all your followers.” .. or take the consequences…next time I won’t be so nice…
“Interesting, what your boat calls you, starts with a ‘P’.”
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