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Month: May 2015

PROTECTION ORDER

PROTECTION ORDER

A3BIn this article we will deal with the manner in which to obtain a protection order, the possible reasons for obtaining such an order, and the consequences of disobeying the order.

A protection order is described as being a form of court order that requires a party to do, or to refrain from doing, certain acts. These orders flow from the court’s injunction power to grant equitable remedies, and can deal with the following:

  • That someone should not commit any act of domestic abuse.
  • That someone should pay you rent, mortgage, or other monies, such as child support.
  • That someone should hand over firearms or dangerous weapons to the police.

If you feel that you need to protect yourself by applying for a protection order, you must apply at a court which has jurisdiction over the area where you are residing. It is also important to first phone a court and make sure on which days you can apply for a protection order, since many courts only have certain days on which they deal with the application for protection orders, unless the protection order is a matter of urgency and you feel that your life might be at risk.

Before obtaining a final protection order, you need to apply for an interim protection order. To do this, you need to apply to the court. The interim order specifies the date on which the final order will be considered. Once the final order is made, it is permanent and can only be changed by making an application to do so at the court at which it was granted. Once an interim order is granted a copy of the order must be served on the Defendant by either the police or a sheriff of the court. The Defendant then has the opportunity to defend the matter on the return date and the Magistrate has the discretion to either make it a final protection order or not.

Requesting a protection order does not mean that you are laying a charge against your abuser. You do not need to lay a criminal charge in order to obtain a protection order. However, if you are a victim of a type of domestic abuse that is also a crime, you can apply for a protection order, lay a criminal charge, or both. Some examples of abuse that are also crimes include common assault, rape, incest, attempted murder and the abuse of animals.

If your abuser breaches or breaks the conditions of the protective order, he has committed a crime, being in contempt of court. This applies even if the breach is not an actual crime, such as controlling behaviour. If the breach itself involves a crime, such as assault, then the abuser can be charged with both contempt of court and assault. If your abuser, or the person that you have the protection order against, breaches the terms of the order you should phone the police as a matter of urgency. The police will then proceed to arrest him/her.

It is important to take note that as soon as a Magistrate grants an interim protection order, the docket number will be placed in your identity document to ensure that the police are aware of this, if matters turn for the worse. It is also important that you go back to court on the return date, because if you don’t, the Magistrate will remove the interim order and the matter will be struck off the roll.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.

STEPS OF THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

STEPS OF THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

A2BThe purpose of criminal procedure is to ensure the security and safety of the public through effective investigation of crimes so that criminals can be identified and brought to justice.

First the crime is reported to the police station. Thereafter the police opens a docket and the crime is investigated by the investigating officer. Next the docket is sent to Court and the prosecutor must make a decision as to whether further investigation is necessary. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) decides whether to prosecute or not. If the NPA decides not to prosecute, it is most likely because the case is not strong enough, for example if there is too little evidence available. If the NPA decides that the accused will be prosecuted, the case is sent to Court for indictment.

The prosecutor may decide on diversion of the case as an alternative decision. Diversion is a system for first time offenders charged with petty crimes. They are given a chance to do community service, pay for damages resulting from the crime, undergo treatment for alcohol or drug problems, and/or counselling for antisocial or mentally unstable behaviour. When the case is heard in Court, the accused may apply to be released on bail. The effect of bail is that an accused who is in custody is released from custody upon payment of the amount of money determined for his or her bail, or the furnishing of a guarantee to pay it. He/she must then appear at the place and on the date and at the stipulated time determined for his or her trial, or to which the proceedings relating to the offense of which the accused is released on bail. The Constitution provides for the following: “Everyone who is arrested for allegedly committing an offence has the right to be released from detention if the interests of justice permit, subject to reasonable conditions.”

At the start of a trial, the prosecutor states the charges laid against the accused. The accused then pleads to the charge, which might be guilty or not guilty. If the accused pleads not guilty, the case must proceed to trial. The matter may be postponed to obtain further evidence or to get a lawyer for the accused.

On the day of the trial the prosecutor will first call witnesses to testify so that it can be proved that the accused is guilty beyond reasonable doubt. Thereafter the accused or his/her attorney will also call witnesses to testify or produce evidence. After both sides have been heard, the presiding officer must make a decision as to whether the accused is guilty or not. If the accused is found guilty, the accused will be sentenced by the presiding officer. The Court may consider other sentencing options besides imprisonment or fines. If sentenced to prison, the accused may be released on parole under certain circumstances. 

Reference list:

  • Joubert, 2001, Criminal ProcedureHandbook.
  • TheNationalProsecuting Authority ofSouthAfrica, 2008, Understanding theCriminal Justice System.
  • The ConstitutionofSouthAfrica, 1996.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.

BESKERMINGSBEVEL

BESKERMINGSBEVEL

A3BIn hierdie artikel bespreek ons die wyse waarop ‘n beskermingsbevel verkry word, die moontlike redes vir so ‘n bevel, asook die gevolge wat ontstaan indien so ‘n bevel nie gehoorsaam word nie.

‘n Beskermingsbevel kan beskryf word as ‘n tipe hofbevel wat vereis dat partye sekere handelinge moet verrig, of nie moet verrig nie. Hierdie bevel vloei uit die hof se krag om billike remedies toe te staan, byvoorbeeld​​:

  • Dat geen persoon ‘n handeling mag uitvoer wat op gesinsgeweld neerkom nie.
  • Dat ‘n persoon geld aan jou verskuldig is, soos huurgeld, verband of onderhoudsgelde.
  • Dat ‘n persoon vuurwapens of gevaarlike wapens aan die polisie moet oorhandig.

Indien dit nodig is om jouself te beskerm deur middel van ‘n aansoek om ‘n beskermingsbevel, moet jy eers seker maak dat jy ‘n hof nader wat in jou jurisdiksiegebied is. Dit is ook belangrik om eers die hof te kontak om seker te maak op watter dae jy aansoek kan doen vir ‘n beskermingsbevel, omdat baie howe net op sekere dae aansoeke om beskermingsbevele hanteer, tensy jou aansoek dringend is en jy voel dat jou lewe bedreig word.

Voor die verkryging van ‘n beskermingsbevel moet jy aansoek doen om ‘n tussentydse beskermingsbevel. Die tussentydse bevel bepaal die datum waarop die finale bevel oorweeg sal word. Sodra die finale bevel gemaak is, is dit van krag en kan dit slegs verander word indien jy so ‘n aansoek tot die hof rig. Sodra ‘n tussentydse bevel toegestaan ​​is, moet ‘n afskrif van sodanige bevel op die Verweerder beteken word deur die polisie of ‘n balju van die hof. Die Verweerder het dan die geleentheid om die saak te verdedig teen die keerdatum, en die Landdros het die diskresie om ‘n finale bevel te maak al dan nie.

Om ‘n beskermingsbevel te versoek, beteken nie dat jy ‘n klag teen jou mishandelaar indien nie. Jy hoef nie ‘n kriminele klag te lê om ‘n beskermingsbevel te bekom nie. Indien jy ‘n slagoffer is van enige vorm van gesinsgeweld wat ook as ‘n misdaad gekwalifiseer word, kan daar aansoek gedoen word vir ‘n beskermingsbevel, ‘n kriminele klag, of beide. Sommige voorbeelde van gesinsgeweld wat ook as misdade gedefinieer is, sluit in gewone aanranding, verkragting, bloedskande, poging tot moord en die mishandeling van diere.

Indien jou mishandelaar oortree, of die voorwaardes van die beskermingsbevel verbreek, het die oortreder ‘n misdaad gepleeg, en sal hy gestraf word vir die misdaad van minagting van die hof. Dit geld selfs al is die oortreding nie ‘n werklike misdaad nie, soos manipulerende gedrag. Indien die verbreking op sigself ‘n misdaad is, soos aanranding, kan die oortreder vervolg word vir minagting van die hof sowel as aanranding. Indien jou oortreder of die persoon teen wie jy die beskermingsbevel het, die bepalings van die bevel oortree, moet jy die polisie onmiddellik daarvan in kennis stel. Die polisie sal dan voortgaan om hom/haar te arresteer.

Dit is belangrik om daarop te let dat sodra ‘n Landdros ‘n tussentydse beskermingsbevel toestaan, die dossiernommer in jou identiteitsdokument aangebring sal word om te verseker dat die polisie bewus is van die aangeleentheid indien sake versleg. Dit is ook belangrik dat jy terugkeer na die hof op die keerdatum, want indien jy versuim om dit te doen, sal die Landdros die tussentydse bevel verwyder en die saak sal van die rol geskrap word.

Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies.

STAPPE VAN DIE STRAFREGSTELSEL

STAPPE VAN DIE STRAFREGSTELSEL

A2BDie doel van strafprosesregreëls is om die sekuriteit en veiligheid van die publiek te waarborg deur effektiewe ondersoek van misdade moontlik te maak sodat misdadigers geïdentifiseer en voor die reg gebring kan word.

Eerstens word die misdaad by die polisiestasie aangemeld. Daarna maak die polisie ‘n dossier oop en die misdaad word ondersoek deur die ondersoekbeampte. Die dossier word dan na die Hof gestuur en die aanklaer moet ‘n beslissing maak rakende verdere ondersoek. Die Nasionale Vervolgingsgesag (NVG) besluit om te vervolg of nie. As die NVG besluit om nie te vervolg nie, is dit omdat die saak nie sterk genoeg is nie of omdat daar te min bewyse is. As die NVG besluit dat die saak vervolg gaan word, word die saak na die Hof gestuur vir aanklag.

Die aanklaer kan besluit om die saak af te wentel as alternatiewe manier van beslegting. Afwenteling is ’n stelsel vir eerstekeer oortreders wat van ‘n geringe misdaad aangekla word. Hulle word ’n kans gegun om gemeenskapsdiens te verrig, restitusie te betaal vir skade as gevolg van die misdaad, om behandeling vir alkohol- of dwelmprobleme te ondergaan, en/of berading vir antisosiale of geestelik onstabiele gedrag te ontvang. In die Hof kan die beskuldigde aansoek doen om op borgtog vrygelaat te word. Die uitwerking van borgtog is dat ‘n beskuldigde wat in bewaring is, uit bewaring vrygelaat word by betaling van die bedrag geld wat vir sy of haar borgtog bepaal is, of by die verstrekking van ‘n waarborg om dit te betaal. Hy/sy moet dan by die plek en op die datum en tyd verskyn wat vir sy/haar verhoor bepaal is of waartoe die verrigtinge wat betrekking het op die misdryf ten opsigte waarvan die beskuldigde op borgtog vrygelaat word, verdaag word. Die Grondwet bepaal die volgende: “Elkeen wat weens ‘n beweerde oortreding gearresteer word, het die reg om behoudens redelike voorwaardes, uit aanhouding vrygelaat te word indien dit in die belang van geregtigheid is.”

Aan die begin van ’n verhoor word die beskuldigde deur die aanklaer ingelig wat die klag teen hulle is. Die beskuldigde pleit dan op die aanklag, wat ‘n pleit van onskuldig of skuldig mag wees. As die beskuldigde onskuldig pleit, moet die saak verhoor word. Die verhoor kan ‘n paar keer uitgestel word om verdere bewyse te kry of om ‘n prokureur vir die beskuldigde aan te stel.

Op die dag van die verhoor sal die aanklaer getuies roep om getuienis te lewer sodat bewys kan word dat die beskuldigde bo enige twyfel skuldig is. Daarna kan die beskuldigde of sy/haar prokureur ook getuies roep of getuienis aanbied. Nadat albei kante aangehoor is, moet die voorsittende beampte ‘n beslissing maak of die beskuldigde skuldig of onskuldig is. Indien die beskuldigde skuldig bevind word, word die beskuldigde gevonnis deur die voorsittende beampte. Die Hof mag ander vonnisopsies oorweeg, afgesien van tronkstraf of boetes. Indien die beskuldigde tot tronkstraf gevonnis word, kan hy/sy onder sekere omstandighede op parool vrygelaat word.

Bronnelys:

  • Joubert, 2001, Strafprosesreg Handboek.
  • Die Nasionale Vervolgingsgesag van Suid Afrika, 2008, Verstaan die Strafregstelsel.
  • Die Grondwet van Suid Afrika, 1996.

Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies.

“DINK VOOR JY PRAAT, TWEE KEER DINK VOORDAT JY SKRYF, DINK DRIE KEER VOOR JY IETS PLAAS OP FACEBOOK”

“DINK VOOR JY PRAAT, TWEE KEER DINK VOORDAT JY SKRYF, DINK DRIE KEER VOOR JY IETS PLAAS OP FACEBOOK”

A1BDie dae van rookseine, duiwe en briewe gebruik om te kommunikeer is lank vergete. Tegnologie het die wêreld ‘n baie klein plek gemaak, veral met die koms van sosiale media.  Met meer as ‘n miljard gebruikers het Facebook ‘n kragtige plek geword. Sosiale media het ook ‘n platform geskep vir die ongelukkiges, en het dit dus baie maklik gemaak om erge skade te veroorsaak.

Ons ou gemeenregtelike regte, menswaardigheid en die reg tot vryheid van spraak,  beide wat vasgelê is in ons Grondwet, word tans onder druk geplaas as gevolg van sosiale media. Die vraag bly dan, is ons reg tot vryheid van spraak onaantasbaar? Of kan ons onsself skuldig bevind aan laster deur ons gedagtes die web in te stuur?

LASTER

Die wet van laster is hoofsaaklik gemoeid met die beskerming van die goeie naam of reputasie van beide natuurlike en regspersone. ‘n Bekende definisie van reputasie is van De Villiers CJ in O’Keefe v Argus Printing and Publishing Co Ltd: “Reputasie is ‘n persoon se karakter, die morele of sosiale stand waarop hy geregtig is onder sy medemens.” In ander woorde, dit is wat ander dink van jou as persoon. Waardigheid, aan die ander kant, is dit wat jy van jouself dink. Die Grondwet beskerm reputasie via die reg tot menswaardigheid.

Laster is die onregmatige en opsetlike publikasie van lasterlike materiaal wat verwys na die persoon wat nie die verklaring maak nie. Die reg tot reputasie word dikwels ontpit teen die reg tot vryheid van spraak, beide hierdie regte word ewe waardeer deur die samelewing en word dit dus ‘n balans om reputasie te beskerm in ‘n manier wat nie die reg tot vryheid van spraak belemmer nie.

Daar is tans geen wetgewing wat spesifiek handel met sosiale media nie, ons moet dus kyk na ander wette en die gemene reg om te bepaal wat sosiale media wetgewing is tot hierdie deel van die reg meer ontwikkel word.

In H v W 2013 (5) BCLR 554 (GSJ) het Regter Willis ‘n aansoek behandel om ‘n interdik teen die respondent te bekom, en ‘n bevel om alle material op Facebook te verwyder wat handel met die applikant. Die Respondent het kommentaar op Facebook geplaas wat sinspeel daarop dat die aansoeker ongeskik is om ‘n vader te wees, asook dat die applikant ‘n dwelm en drankprobleem het.

Die hof het beveel dat die respondent alle plasings op Facebook wat verband hou met die Applikant moet verwyder, en die kostes van die applikant betaal. Daar was geen eis vir skadevergoeding in hierdie saak nie.

Verdermeer het die KVBA versending van beledigende en neerhalende kommentaar op sosiale media deur werknemers erken as ‘n billike rede vir werkgewers om hulle te ontslaan. Die KVBA het aangedui (deur onlangse sake) dat dit wat ‘n werknemer aanlyn sê ‘n rol speel in die bepaling van of ‘n ontslag billik was of nie.

Behalwe die moontlikheid dat jy regsaksie of moontlike ontslag in die gesig staar deur jou aanlyn kommentaar, is dit noodsaaklik om te onthou hoe jou digitale CV lyk. Voornemende werkgewers is altyd (en as hulle nie is nie, moet hulle) besig om te kyk hoe jou digitale voetspoor lyk. As jy iets aanlyn pos sal ‘n eenvoudige Google-soektog dit van die internet trek en onder die aandag bring van ‘n belangstellende werkgewer. Hoe sal jy wil hê jou digitale voetspoor moet lyk as jy oor 5 jaar terugkyk?

Geskryf deur Kestrel Carstens

Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies.

“THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK, THINK TWICE BEFORE YOU WRITE, THINK THREE TIMES BEFORE YOU POST ON FACEBOOK”

“THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK, THINK TWICE BEFORE YOU WRITE, THINK THREE TIMES BEFORE YOU POST ON FACEBOOK”

A1BGone are the days of relying on smoke signals, pigeons and letters to communicate. Ever changing and ever expanding technology has made the world a very small place, especially with the advent of social media. With over a billion users, Facebook has become a powerful place. Social media has also created a platform for the unhappy and has therefore made it much easier to cause extensive harm.

We have ancient common law rights both to dignity and freedom of expression, both of which have been enshrined in our Constitution. Social media has caused tensions between these rights in ways that could not have been foreseen by our legal forefathers.  The question then remains, is our right to freedom of expression untouchable? Or can we still find ourselves liable for defamation by sending our thoughts into the world wide web…?

DEFAMATION

The law of defamation is mainly concerned with protecting the good name or reputation of both natural and juristic persons. A well known definition of reputation is from De Villiers CJ in O’Keefe v Argus Printing and Publishing Co Ltd: “A person’s reputation is that character for moral or social worth to which he is entitled amongst his fellow-men.” In other words, it is what others think of you as a person. Dignity, on the other hand, is what you think of yourself. The Constitution protects reputation via the right to dignity.

Defamation is the wrongful and intentional publication of defamatory material that refers to the person not making the statement. The right to reputation is often pitted against the right to freedom of speech and expression, both these rights are equally esteemed by society and it therefore becomes a balancing act to protect reputation in a way that does not frustrate freedom of communication

There is currently no legislation dealing specifically with social media, we need to therefore look to other statutes and the common law to determine what constitutes social media law until this part of the law is more developed.

In H v W 2013 (5) BCLR 554 (GSJ) Judge Willis dealt with an application for an order interdicting and restraining the respondent from posting on Facebook information pertaining to the applicant on Facebook. The respondent had posted a comment on Facebook that insinuated that the applicant was an unfit father and user of drugs and alcohol.

The court ordered the respondent to remove all postings that she had posted on Facebook that referred to the applicant, and pay the applicant’s legal costs. There was no claim for damages in this matter.

Furthermore, the posting of offensive and derogatory comments on social media by employees has been recognized as a fair reason for employers to dismiss them. The CCMA has indicated (through recent case law) that what an employee says online plays a role in determining the substantive fairness of a dismissal.

Apart from the possibilities of facing legal action or being dismissed by your current employer, it is essential to remember what your digital CV looks like. Prospective employers are always (and if they are not, they should be) looking at your digital footprint. If you post something online a simple Google search will pull it out of the internet and to the attention of an interested employer. How would you prefer your digital footprint looks like should you look back on it in a few years?

Written by Kestrel Carstens

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.