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Karate instructor branded a rapist by fellow coach wins libel damages

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ZELDA VENTER

High Court Reporter

A PRETORIA karate instructor, who has been involved in the sport for years at national and international level, has succeeded in his damages claim against another karate instructor who in e-mails to karate bodies, accused him of being a child molester, a rapist and a paedophile.

The plaintiff, 52, who is not being identified due to the nature of the allegations levelled against him, claimed R250 000 in damages from karate expert Tshepo Maaga who operates under the name and style of Doshinkai Karate.

Maaga did not defend the action and the Pretoria High Court issued judgment by default, ordering Maaga to pay the plaintiff R250 000.

The instructor said in court papers that Maaga had in November last year and in January sent two e-mails to individuals in the National Karate Organisation of SA. “I’m well acquainted with all (them) as I have been involved in karate for more than 40 years.”

From the e-mails he is being implicated as “being convicted in a court for raping his students”.

“This is untrue and defamatory. The purpose of these mails were to defame me within the SA National Karate Organisation,” he said.

The allegations in the e-mails were neither true, nor was publi-cation thereof in the public interest, he said.

“I have been a professional karate instructor for the past 44 years and have various karate clubs under my control.

“During 1997/98 and after instructing thousands of students, one disgruntled student laid charges of sexual misconduct against her biological father, myself as her karate instructor and two defence force ambulance men. We were all investigated, but nobody was convicted.”

The plaintiff said these charges caused him grave embarrassment personally and professionally. Various papers reported on the investigations as he was a high profile karate instructor. “This unnecessary ordeal affected my status as instructor” and the latest false e-mails “stirred up old wounds”.

It seemed Maaga had a personal vendetta against him and was trying to discredit him. “I’m not sure what he intends to gain, but it seems personal. The mails are devoid of truth and defamatory.”


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