6 February 2013

Namibia: Sheriff Uses Newspaper to Track Down Facebook Stalker

AN UNPRECEDENTED court order in which a German alleged cyber bully was ordered to remove defamatory material about his Namibian ex-girlfriend from his Facebook page may now be served on him through a newspaper advertisement, it was ordered in the High Court in Windhoek yesterday.

Since Acting Judge Esi Schimming-Chase granted an interdict in which she ordered the removal of defamatory material from an offensive Facebook page on January 24, the deputy sheriff of the High Court has not been able to physically track down the creator of the page, Klaus Weichhaus, to formally serve the court order on him.

As a result of this, Weichhaus's former girlfriend, Grace Zamuee, yesterday obtained a follow-up court order in which Acting Judge Schimming-Chase gave her permission to serve the first interdict on Weichhaus through an advertisement in The Namibian.

The January interdict was the first order of its kind in which someone had been instructed by a Namibian court to remove libellous material from his or her Facebook page.

In a second affidavit, filed with the court this week, Zamuee is claiming that all of the defamatory material has not been removed from Weichhaus's Facebook page, and that for a brief period after the first order had been granted he continued to publish defamatory material about her on another internet website.

On that website, photographs of Zamuee and cellphone messages supposedly exchanged between her and Weichhaus have in the meantime been replaced with sweet photos of flowers, koala bears, penguins, and other soothing nature scenes.

That is a far cry from Weichhaus's original Facebook page, which was a collection of accusations against Zamuee, photographs of her, and coarse statements about genitalia, sexual acts and alleged promiscuity.

Weichhaus is claiming that some of these statements came from cellphone text messages which Zamuee sent to him. Zamuee is denying that she sent those messages, Tjombe has informed the court.

According to Zamuee, she went to the police twice to lay a charge against Weichhaus, but nothing came of this.

After their relationship, which started in April 2010, came to an end near the end of 2011, he threatened her that he would not leave her alone, and that he would be making her life a living hell, she claimed.

Having made that threat against her, he went on to harass her by persistently contacting her by telephone and through cellphone text messages and e-mails, by stalking her at her home and at her workplace in Windhoek, and by relentlessly publishing defamatory material about her on his Facebook page, she claimed.

His entire Facebook account was dedicated to ensuring that she was defamed at all cost, Zamuee charged.

Weichhaus has stated to The Namibian that all of Zamuee's allegations were not true, that he did not stalk her, insult her, or abuse her - and that everything he stated on his Facebook page was true.

In her latest affidavit, Zamuee states that when her lawyer, Norman Tjombe, phoned Weichhaus's wife in an attempt to obtain his physical address, he was informed that Weichhaus's wife has also obtained an interdict against him. That has resulted in Weichhaus being evicted from the couple's home.

His wife's lawyers are also trying to get hold of Weichhaus's physical address so that they can have divorce papers served on him, Zamuee said.

She added that Tjombe has established with the University of Namibia that Weichhaus is no longer employed with that institution.

In e-mail messages that he has been sending out recently, and also on his Facebook page, Weichhaus is still describing himself as a senior consultant in information communication technology with Unam. He is also describing himself as a "Minister of the still existing DEUTSCHE REICH (German Reich)".

Unam spokesperson Utaara Hoveka said yesterday that the university does not have any ties with Weichhaus at the moment. He was a consultant in the field of information technology with Unam's Central Consultancy Bureau, but that connection came to an end last year, Hoveka said.

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