The South African gay club Camp David, which was raided earlier this month, have obtained a court order against a newspaper to prevent it publishing photos of naked people arrested during the raid, reports Pretoria News.
Pretoria High Court Judge Francis Legodi ruled that the rest of the application by owners Gerhard Rissik and Daniel Hamman – to set aside the search and seizure warrants by the police – was not urgent.
The application was launched against the police commissioner and against several individual police officers.
Rissik said in papers before court that the Alphen Park club was private and restricted to members.
A person had to have membership and undergo a screening process before being allowed intothe club.
There were two security doors to the venue and a person could only enter after he had announced himself and his identity had been verified.
A sign at the door read that if one found nudity offensive, one should not enter, the court heard.
The police raided the club on the evening of November 17.
Rissik said “a loud noise emanated from the vicinity of the doors” and via CCTV saw that police were in the process of breaking down the first door.
“Before I could ask what they wanted, both doors were broken down and a large number of uniformed people stormed in.”
Rissik said he was instructed at gunpoint to lie down on the floor. The police officers failed to identify themselves or say why they were there. He added that he was also not given a search warrant.
“They proceeded to capture on film the patrons in their naked state.”
He said a Rekord reporter also took pictures of the men clad in only their shoes.
“The photography and video footage was accompanied by the making of lewd remarks relating to the sexual orientation of the patrons.
“Only after being subjected to being filmed naked were they instructed to get dressed and get down on the floor.”
Rissik said Superintendent Morne van Wyk told them that drugs were found on the premises. He produced a small packet of powder, but refused to say where on the premises it was found.
Rissik said his business partner was forced to open the safe, from where DVDs and pills for sexual stimulation were taken.
“Then we were all then arrested, but not told for what offence.”
Rissik said they were held overnight at the Brooklyn police station after being charged with public indecency.
“Prior to the raid I was in the peaceful and undisturbed possession of the venue and all the equipment therein,” Rissik said.
It later emerged that the warrant was issued with the purpose of “ensuring the safety of the Pretoria public”.
Rissik said he failed to understand how the events that took place in his club had anything to do with the public safety.
He said the raid infringed on their rights as owners of a private venue and it was disturbing that the police and media took pictures of the naked patrons.
Rissik said he feared that the material would be published in the media.
But Senior Superintendent Rienette Pieterse gave the assurance that the police footage taken that evening would not be distributed to the media.
She said the police had to take footage of what had transpired that night, as it would be used as evidence in court.
Pieterse admitted that the police broke down the doors, but said it would have defeated the purpose if they had “waited politely outside” until someone opened the door.
Rissik, she said, was not naked, but clad in his underpants at the time. She stated that a police dog found the powder in a passage of the club.
The court heard that the raid was part of a wider operation on premises in the city suspected of being brothels.
The keeping of a brothel, she said, compromised public order.