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November 08, 2005

Constitutional Court strikes blow against spousal abuse

The Constitutional Court struck a blow against spousal abuse when it ruled on the constitutionality of the Domestic Violence Act, Act 118 of 1998, dismissing an application for leave to appeal by Ahmed Raffik Omar, whose claim that the Act infringed on his right to a fair trial had been rejected by the Natal Provincial Division of the High Court. The case stemmed from an abusive relationship between Omar and his wife, which resulted in several protection orders being issued against him. Omar’s challenge was against Section 8 of the Act, which provides that, under certain circumstances, a member of the SA Police Service could arrest Omar if the police officer had reasonable grounds to believe that his wife was in imminent danger (a suspended warrant of arrest). Omar contended this was unconstitutional, as it infringed on his right to a fair trial, which includes the right to be informed of the charge against him, the right to be presumed innocent, and the right to remain silent; as well as his right to freedom and security of the person.
Judgment (PDF file)
See also a report on the IoL site

Supplied courtesy of Legalbrief Today.


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