Blogger Mike Hampton was 'silenced' three times by a court, but is still intent on what he believes is his mission to tell the truth, and even threatened to sue the Knysna-Plett Herald. Photo: sourced.
KNYSNA NEWS - Yet another judgement was delivered against Knysna blogger, Mike Hampton, and owner of the websites Love Knysna and Knysna Keep, when Magistrate Gerald Mentor of George delivered judgement in the harassment application Greg Vogt (CEO of Knysna and Partners) launched against Hampton on September 25, in the Knysna Magistrate's Court.
Magistrate Mentor found that the respondent (Hampton’s) replying affidavit did not meet the standards required by the courts in both form and substance and that he had in fact admitted to harassment and that he was aware that his blogs could cause harm notwithstanding which he persisted.
The court is satisfied that Hampton had engaged in harassment. The only defence he could avail himself of is that his conduct was not unreasonable and he has failed to show this was the outcome.
"The court found that Hampton had infringed Vogt’s right to inherent dignity which must be respected and protected in terms of section 10 of the constitution."
The court therefore upheld the relief requested by Vogt and a final order was issued prohibiting Hampton from harassing Vogt, compelling the removal of articles (from the web) and in addition a costs order was awarded to Vogt.
In the court document it is also stated: "His [Hampton's] affidavit is riddled with references to hearsay evidence which for obvious reasons the court can have no regard to. He offers no factual basis, for example the assertion that Knysna Tourism went bankrupt on the applicant's watch and the implication that the applicant's funding of Knysna Tourism's debt with the municipality was improper."
"The repondent's affidavit further contains documents which purport to support his case without however, identifying which parts of same support his case."
An immensely relieved Vogt said he was relieved the wait was over and very glad that justice had prevailed as for far too long Hampton had been allowed to target people occupying certain positions and harass them with endless repetition of unfounded innuendo which has had a severely negative impact on the image of the town. The monetary cost to individuals and the damage to brand Knysna single-handedly caused by Hampton was incalculable, said Vogt.
"It has been soul destroying for me because while I do my utmost to build Knysna as a tourism destination 365 days a year, this has been a poison against my name," said Vogt, who said that he often went into top level tourism meetings only to find he was already tainted by what had been written by Hampton on the internet.
Hampton lost another court case on July 29, when Magistrate Goosen gave judgement in Magdalena Moos' application for a protection order against Hampton in terms of the Protection from Harassment Act.
Moos is currently the provincial chairperson of the Community Police Forum (CPF) and also serves on the national CPF board.
The court found on a balance of probabilities that Hampton had engaged or was engaging in harassment and a final protection order was granted, as well as a warrant for his arrest should he contravene the order.
On July 7, Justice J Allie sentenced Hampton to 60 days' imprisonment for contempt of court, suspended for three years on condition he does not publish defamatory statements or photographs of Knysna's deputy mayor, Esmé Edge.
The contempt charge followed after Hampton was found in contempt of a court order for posting a blog on April 24 in deliberate disregard of the court order granted on December 9, 2014. The high court application was brought by Edge against Hampton.
This was an extremely expensive exercise for Edge, but she said it was necessary because of the damage done to her image on the internet by the untruths spoken about her by Hampton, that could simply not be left there.
In terms of the order following Moos' application, Hampton is prohibited from engaging in the harassment of Moos, either by himself or by others at his behest. In addition thereto he may not publish in any form or in any way disseminate any picture of her, any defamatory statements and any personal information of the applicant. He also may not speak to or make contact with the applicant.
Goosen ordered Hampton to remove the posts produced on September 22, 2014, August 8, 2014 and June 13, 2014 and to remove the name Magda Moos from the header of the blog posted on February 25, 2014 on the websites Knysna Keep and Love Knysna.
The Moos application was submitted by defence team Carl Jeppe and Advocate Julie Seton.
On Tuesday, August 11, Moos told the Knysna-Plett Herald that the judgement was a special victory for her, especially since August was Women's Month. She said she valued the justice system, especially after the protection order was granted.
"I just decided that I was born in Knysna, went to school here and built up a good name for myself in town. I will not be the victim of incriminating posts by a blogger."
At the time of judgement Hampton did not reply to a request for his side of the story or comment on the judgement.
He also did not comment after the Edge judgement.
Hampton was given the chance to respond to the latest judgement against him in regards to Vogt, but also to the others.
Several questions were put to him:
How do you feel regarding the Vogt judgement?
What have been your real intentions with this blog?
Have you meant to hurt people or do what you would consider is 'in the best interest of Knysna'? Exposing corruption, etc?
When people google Knysna and your blogs come up, did you consider this was hurting the image/brand of Knysna as per Vogt's comment?
Do you feel any remorse?
Do you feel you have been wronged?
How do you feel now?
What are your future plans?
Will you be taking legal advice?
Will you still be writing your blogs?
His only comment was as follows: "Knysna-Plett Herald has deliberately taken sides with politicians and government officials whilst receiving advertising monies from the local government they represent. It would be inappropriate for me to comment on the details considering that I will be taking the newspaper to the Press Ombudsman and suing them in civil court.
"These matters will include the maladministration of Knysna Tourism, the individuals involved whom the Knysna-Plett Herald has favoured in their reporting, and the newspaper's failure to report on information provided by me. Knysna-Plett Herald is not committed to truth or the citizens of Knysna, especially me.
"No matter how much I suffer, I will get justice, not only for myself but for Knysna. No one thinking themselves good should ever cower to the bad, bad people trying to control our lives and hurt our future."