Trollip accuser walks out of court

Former Democratic Alliance Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) councillor Knight Mali, who is fighting a R1m defamation claim from the metro’s former mayor, Athol Trollip, walked out of court on Tuesday morning saying he was ill, unrepresented, unprepared and unable to conduct his own defence.
Judge Sindile Toni on Monday refused Mali’s application for another postponement saying it was in the interest of justice that the defamation case proceed.
It was one-way traffic after Mali left with Trollip setting out to show the Grahamstown high court how devastated he had been politically, publicly and personally by the untrue defamatory accusations from Mali and former ANC councillor Lawrence Troon that he was a racist, human rights abuser who had exploited his farm staff.
The allegations surfaced in 2015 in the run-up to the 2016 local government elections and more than a decade after Trollip had sold his Mount Prospect Farm outside Bedford.
Mali and Troon produced mostly unsigned statements from several men and women who they claimed had once worked on or near Trollip’s former Mount Prospect farm outside Bedford.
Among other things, the group claimed they had been underpaid, exploited and treated badly by the Trollip family.
In the absence of a defence, Trollip is unlikely to have to call any witnesses. He needs only to demonstrate the detrimental effect of the defamatory statements.
Mali would have had to prove his defence which was that the statements were true and in the public interest.
However, not a single witness was evident at the court on Tuesday for Mali.
He had intimated that he had consulted with all of the witnesses and they were ready to testify.
However, he on Tuesday again reiterated to Toni that he was too ill to conduct his defence and needed a postponement.
Toni said he had made his ruling on Monday and the trial would proceed. Mali said he could take it no further. He packed his bag and left.
Trollip became deeply emotional and tearful when giving evidence on the devastating effect the accusations had on his life. He said the accusations ran contrary to everything he stood for both personally and publicly. trial continues...

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