A PIETERMARITZBURG attorney yesterday obtained a high court order entitling him to notify fraud fugitive Mike Hale of an impending lawsuit by way of an advertisement in a British newspaper.
The urgent court order was obtained by local lawyer Rob Dawson after The Witness news editor Stephanie Saville established earlier this month that Hale has been teaching in Cornwall in the United Kingdom.
Hale, then an insurance broker, fled South Africa in 2009 and is wanted in this country on 45 counts of fraud involving R20 million.
Dawson says in court papers he entered into a business partnership with Hale in October 2007 to buy property (in a scheme known as Crestview) as an investment with the intention of selling it later for profit.
He says they both made equal contributions to the partnership, and had obtained a bond over the property in respect of which they each made equal monthly payments.
Dawson said when Hale fled the country on July 9, 2009 Hale’s share of the bond repayments fell into arrears, affecting his own interest in the property and partnership.
Dawson said in order to protect his own share, he has since been paying both Hale’s and his own contribution to the bond.
Until now no one knew where Hale was, and even attempts by the South African police to track him down had been fruitless.
Dawson said because Hale’s whereabouts were unknown he was not previously able to institute an action to dissolve his partnership with him.
This was until The Witness article, which was published on November 19, revealed that Hale has been teaching at various places in the UK, the last of which was in Cornwall.
Dawson said he was friends with Hale for many years and knew him for almost 15 years before he fled South Africa.
He said before entering the insurance field, Hale was a teacher and had taught at Alexandra High School.
The Witness article also referred to Hale being a water polo player.
“I recall distinctly him telling me that he played water polo for England so I have no doubt that the person referred to in the front page article of the The Witness … is in fact my partner,” said Dawson.
“I know for a fact that he read the local newspaper on a daily basis,” said Dawson.
He said he had no doubt that because Hale is a fugitive from justice, he would continue to read The Witness electronically on the Internet.
He also said he didn’t doubt that Hale would read the newspaper circulating in the county of Cornwall, the Cornish Guardian.
Dawson said if Hale becomes aware his whereabouts are now known he might try to move from Cornwall, and this was why the application was urgent.
The order was granted yesterday by Judge Johan Ploos van Amstel.
Attorney Richard Stretch of Lister & Lister who acted in the matter, told The Witness they are in the process of obtaining quotations from British newspapers to publish the information. One publication had quoted R13 680 for an advertisement consisting of 80 to 90 words.