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February 02, 2005

Jailed father fights for access to children

A former accountant and convicted murderer, Stuart James McDonald (45), is asking the Durban High Court to order his teenage sons to visit him in jail so that they can ‘bond’ with him. He also wants them to be placed in temporary foster care – away from the ‘negative influences’ of their mother and stepfather. McDonald, who is serving 10 years for the murder of his ex-wife’s former boyfriend and the shooting of her brother-in-law, has been waging a battle for better access to his children, reports The Mercury. While in prison he successfully campaigned for a law which made it a criminal offence for the custodial parent to deny the other parent access to the children. But in his latest appeal, against a Durban Children's Court ruling that the children could be adopted by their mother's new husband, the Durban High Court found that it had no jurisdiction and referred the matter to the Pietermaritzburg Family Court. In his court papers, McDonald claimed that he had opened 133 charges against the children's mother. He also demanded that the boys have access to his family and that he be given access to their school reports.
Full report in The Mercury


Supplied courtesy of Legalbrief Today.

February 01, 2005

Magistrates reluctant to seize weapons in domestic violence cases

Studies have shown that efforts to fight domestic violence are being hampered because magistrates do not use the powers available to them in terms of the Domestic Violence Act to seize weapons from perpetrators. Business Day reports that Dee Smythe of the Gender, Health and Justice Research Unit at the University of Cape Town, says in the latest SA Crime Quarterly that in one in five intimate femicides a woman was killed by her partner with a licensed firearm. The SA Medical Research Council found last year that magistrates had failed to seize weapons. In a study for the Institute for Security Studies conducted last year, magistrates said the implementation of the Act was cumbersome because they had heavy case loads and did not focus primarily on domestic violence cases. 




January 31, 2005

An example of a simple will

 Interested in drawing up you own D-I-Y simple will? Here's a basic example.
 And here are the formalities you should observe.

Employer cannot unilaterally set retirement age

A recent ruling in the Labour Court has dealt with the issue of retirement age. In Rubin Sportswear v SA Clothing and Textile Workers Union and others the Labour Appeal Court had to decide whether an employer was entitled to determine a particular age to be the normal retirement age for his employees by setting it unilaterally as the retirement age. Four employees were dismissed by the appellant, who had recently bought the company, when they reached the age of 60, reports Cluver Markotter Legal Update. The respondents did not accept the dismissal and contended that they were still able and willing to perform their work beyond the age of 60 and that this dismissal was unfair discrimination based on age. The Appeal Court upheld the Labour Court ruling that the dismissal was unfair. It said the Appellant’s conduct in purporting to unilaterally fix 60 as the normal retirement age for the employees was a breach of their terms and condition of employment. The court further looked at what could be considered ‘normal’ retirement age and concluded that 60 was neither the normal nor the agreed retirement age for the respondents.
Full report in Cluver Markotter Legal Update


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