On 7 June, attorneys Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs (ENS), acting on behalf of Stephen Gore and his firm Sanek Trust Recovery Services (Pty) Ltd, wrote to demand that Noseweek confirm, in writing, by no later than Tuesday, 11 June that it would not publish an article which freelance journalist Tony Beamish had proposed submitting to this magazine for publication.
They went on to demand that, should Beamish submit his article for publication in an amended form, it “should not contain any allegations, references and suggestions that their clients have shared in auctioneers’ fees or have been party to a fraud on the creditors of insolvent estates”. They also suggested that Noseweek put any revised, draft publication to their clients for comment, before proceeding to publication.
ENS attorney Adriaan Hoeben concluded his letter with the attorneys’ customary threat and greeting: “Should we not receive your written confirmation in the terms set out above within the stipulated time period, our clients’ rights to approach the high court for appropriate interlocutory relief are strictly and expressly reserved. Yours faithfully.”
Noseweek’s Editor replied: “While I have not as yet had sight of the article Beamish intends submitting to Noseweek, and I note that he has by all accounts quite properly submitted his draft to your clients, inviting them to comment and point out any inaccuracies, with no less than three weeks’ notice, I am nevertheless happy to confirm that Noseweek will not publish the article as it stands or at all, unless I have been satisfied that any allegations it might contain that are adverse to you clients are properly substantiated and that your clients’ comment is fairly reported.”
Explaining his uncharacteristically timid response, Welz said:
“I wasn’t sure what we were being threatened with, but it sounded so bad that I decided better to play it safe. (Surely it would be more appropriate if they relieved their interlocutory in the nearest toilet rather than at the high court?) Let’s face it, we’ve had more than enough shit thrown around in the Cape of late.”
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