Cape Town lawyer back on trial for malicious damage to property

Charges against attorney Gary Trappler have been reinstated after CCTV footage came to light

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Cape Town attorney Gary Trappler, facing charges of malicious damage to property, ascends the stairs to the Cape Town Magistrates Court. Photos: Sandiso Phaliso

  • Gary Trappler, an attorney, allegedly slashed a Green Point resident’s car tyres more than three years ago.

  • The case against Trappler was initially withdrawn due to lack of evidence.
  • New footage has come to light, but the reinstated case was postponed on Friday because the magistrate was absent.

The case against Cape Town lawyer Gary Trappler, who faces charges of malicious damage to property, was postponed on Friday.

Trappler, who is an attorney, allegedly slashed the tyres of Green Point resident Thandi Mgwaba’s car on 19 February 2020. Following the incident, Mgwaba felt unsafe and moved to KwaZulu-Natal.

The case was initially withdrawn in 2021 due to insufficient evidence and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) deciding there was no prospect of a successful prosecution.

The case against Trappler has since been reopened after CCTV footage, which was never presented to the NPA, emerged of a person approaching Mgwaba’s car. After leaving the car, the tyres deflate.

Friday’s postponement was due to the appointed magistrate for the case at the Cape Town Magistrates Court being absent.

Mgwaba, prosecutor Jasmin Supasar, Trappler and his legal representative Anél du Toit were all present and ready to proceed with the trial.

Magistrate Deon Van der Spuy, who stood in for the absent magistrate to clear the court roll, was also ready to proceed but indicated he would not be able to hear the remainder of the case if it was not finished on Friday.

Therefore new dates for the trial were set for 23 and 24 November.

Trappler left the court as soon as proceedings finished. But GroundUp managed to speak to Mgwala outside court.

“I am happy there is progress and the NPA is supporting me. Justice must be seen to be done. The way the case was withdrawn, I did not understand. I had to send representations to the NPA and luckily there is a video that confirms what I have written in the statement,” said Mgwala.

Thandi Mgwaba felt unsafe in Green Point after social media threats and her car tyres were slashed. She left for KwaZulu-Natal.

Correction on 2023-08-28 17:53

The original article stated the incident took place following heated social media arguments over feeding homeless people during the Covid lockdown. The incident took place prior to lockdown, on 19 February 2020.

TOPICS:  Court

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