Contravening the Domestic Violence Act

It is a common occurrence in our Courts when that parties separate they often require domestic violence orders against one another.

These domestic violence orders usually prohibit or permit certain actions from either party and should these provisions in the so-called interdicts be beached, the aggrieved party would, of course, be able to approach the local police station for the offender to be arrested.

Our Courts have often expressed the view that such offenders should be appropriately punished.

In The Director of Public Prosecutions v Phillips, the  Supreme Court of Appeal sent out a strong message to would-be offenders of such orders.

The facts of this matter can briefly be summarised as follows:  In this instance, the deceased obtained a domestic violence order against her husband where after he kidnapped their minor son making threats that he would sodomise his own son.

This he did in the attempt to force the mother to withdraw charges against him.

Later during an incident between the mother and the accused, the accused stabbed the mother to death.

The Trial Court initially found that in the circumstances a sentence of 12 years would be appropriate for such conduct. One should keep in mind that whenever any person is convicted for murder it usually carries a mandatory sentence of 15 years imprisonment.

In considering the sentence, the Court found that there were a number of instances where people breached these domestic violence orders and that a clear message had to be sent out in this regard and accordingly the Court increased the sentence from 12 years to 18 years imprisonment.

Marius du Toit

Marius du Toit has 27 years experience in law and specialises in criminal law, road accident fund claims, unlawful arrests, personal injury law, and family law.

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