Cape Town - A malicious damage to property case against Atlantic Seaboard attorney Gary Trappler has been withdrawn before it could be heard at the Cape Town magistrate’s court for lack of enough evidence.
Trappler was arrested in February last year after his neighbour Thandi Mgwaba claimed that he had slashed two tyres of her rented car.
In a statement to the control prosecutor David Jacobs, Trappler’s advocate, Anél Du Toit said video evidence did not show him damaging the car, and had been manipulated by a third party, who, while not a complainant in the case, had a personal vendetta against Trappler.
Trappler has previously clashed with some members of the Green Point community who hold diametrically opposed views to his on the contentious issue of street crime and homeless people in the area.
In 2019 Trappler represented residents from Sea Point and the Atlantic Seaboard who were supporting the City’s court battle with seven homeless people seeking an interdict to prevent the City from enforcing a by-law that fined the homeless for sleeping rough on pavements and in the doorways of businesses.
Asking for the charge to be withdrawn, Du Toit said: “A thorough perusal of the docket shows that there is in fact no direct evidence of my client’s involvement in the slashing of Mgwaba’s tyres.
“The matter has caused great anguish to my client and he and his family have had to bear the brunt of threats, his incarceration and public allegations all in furtherance of a political agenda.”
Du Toit said that Mgwaba had not said in her statement that she witnessed the incident and had also confirmed the reality of street crime in the Green Point area.
She said that since Trappler moved to Green Point in 2016, he had been actively involved with the Green Point Community Policing Forum and with the Green Point Neighbourhood Watch and had held leadership positions in both organisations.
“He performs evening patrols and has frequently been called upon by neighbours and other residents of the area to attend to emergency crime or other situations,” Du Toit said.