Citizen newspaper to appeal McBride judgement

Lawyers for the Citizen newspaper will appeal against a Johannesburg High Court order that the newspaper has to pay Ekurhuleni metro police chief Robert McBride R200 000 in a defamation claim.

“We are definitely going to appeal,” the newspaper’s acting editor, Martin Williams, said.

He did not want to divulge the grounds on which the appeal would be based, saying their lawyers would have to formulate that.

McBride politely turned down an opportunity to comment on the order.

The case concerned mainly editorial comment by Williams, and opinion in a column by freelancer Andrew Kenny in September and October 2003.

The articles queried McBride’s suitability for the position of metro police chief.

Testifying in court during the case, Williams said the articles were because of McBride’s criminal record that included the bombing of a bar in which 69 people were injured and three killed during the apartheid era.

He said McBride was once detained for gun dealing in Mozambique and also had no experience or academic training as a traffic officer.

Because of this he was not suitable for the position as the chief of metro police, said Williams at the time.

McBride was granted amnesty by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the bombings.

He has been placed on leave pending his trial for driving under the influence of alcohol, defeating the ends of justice and fraud in the Pretoria Regional Court, which relate to an accident in Centurion, Pretoria, in December 2006.—Sapa

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