/ 2 October 2007

Writer in court over alleged intimidation

A music writer who demanded the right to vent his feelings on Radio Heart 104.9 about the rejection of a story he wrote concerning a black musician is to go on trial on a charge of intimidation.

David Robert Lewis (39), of Woodstock, appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, where magistrate Phindi Norman set his trial for November 9.

Lewis sported a bald hairstyle, with a small wild crop of hair on the crown of his head.

It was alleged that he entered the Heart 104.9 premises in May and demanded from news anchor Zulpha Khan the right to air his feelings.

The charge sheet on record alleges assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, but gives no detail. However, in Tuesday’s proceedings, prosecutor Titi Mthimunye said the charge will be changed to intimidation.

In an affidavit that he gave to his attorney, Michael Jennings, Lewis describes himself as a ”music journalist, published writer, visual artist and community activist”.

He says his story about the jazz musician was rejected because of alleged racism, causing him to lodge a case of discrimination in the Labour Court.

He says he went to Heart 104.9 hoping to speak to the news editor about the Labour Court case, but instead ended up with news anchor Khan, who refused to go on air with his story.

On the court record is a doctor’s letter saying Lewis had stress-related psychiatric treatment in 1998, but that he currently gives a good and coherent account of himself and shows no signs of mental illness. The letter said he is fit to stand trial. — Sapa