Durban – A divorced father of one has landed in hot water after allegedly sending racy naked selfies to a young woman on WhatsApp.
Ashley Jagdeo, 31, of Verulam, appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court last week and was granted bail of R1 000.The explicit photos purportedly show his private area and stomach, but not his face.
The State alleges that Jagdeo, who is facing charges of sexual exposure and crimen injuria, also bombarded the complainant (who is in her early twenties) with vulgar WhatsApp messages.In some of the messages, he is alleged to have asked the complainant if she had seen the photos and whether she had any response.
However the woman, whose only dealings with Jagdeo had been as a customer at a business where he used to work, went to a SAPS station in Durban and informed police of her ordeal.
Jagdeo, represented by Roy Singh Attorneys, has not pleaded as yet.
Durban advocate Shan Govender, who is not involved in this matter, said the criminal injuria charge which the State had levelled against Jagdeo came about because he allegedly violated the complainant’s dignity.
“The complainant did not need a picture of his face to open a case against him. His cellphone number would have reflected in the pictures and messages which he allegedly sent to the complainant,” he said, when approached by POST for an explanation of the charges.
Govender said cellphones were used by millions of South Africans who must be made aware that the sending of explicit pictures and vulgar messages could result in prosecution.
“To prosecute Jagdeo, the State must have obtained copies of the material which he sent to the complainant.
“The fact that he is now an accused shows that the State is treating this case in a serious light,” he said.
“People must be aware that even if the sender deletes offensive pictures and rude messages from one’s phone, the sender can be prosecuted if the recipient has stored the material as proof.”
Social media law expert Emma Sadleir said it was “highly unusual” for anyone to send naked selfies to a relative stranger.
But she said the sending of “revenge porn”, where a jilted lover, husband, or wife distributes naked pictures or videos of their partner on social media platforms, had become a disturbing trend.
Sadleir said the posting of naked pictures and graphic videos by schoolchildren had also become a worrying trend.
“I always say that if one does not want to place one’s naked picture on a big billboard, then don’t post it on social media platforms.
“Millions of South Africans have cellphones. There are savvy cellphone communities. People, including youngsters, need to think not once, twice or thrice, but constantly about texting the content they want to send via social media platforms,” Sadleir said.
At parliamentary level, the country’s lawmakers are seeking to amend the Films and Publications Act by closing the gaps concerning content on social media platforms.
A fine of R150 000 (or two years’ imprisonment) has been proposed.
In terms of the proposed amendments, it will be regarded as unlawful to post private photos or videos on social media sites or anywhere on the internet without the consent of the individuals depicted.
The amendments will be enacted only after Parliament has approved them and President Jacob Zuma signs the amendment act into law.