How to find a divorce lawyer in Cape Town, South Africa

Stalking - legal remedy

Recently there have been numerous newspaper reports relating to cases of stalking. This is quite common also once a marriage comes to an end and I therefore decided to write an article on it.

In a recent case in Stellenbosch a certain Mr. Jacobus Eksteen was alleged to have had an obsession with a fellow student Erin Van Rensburg. She allegedly told him that she did not want a relationship with him. He then allegedly stalked, raped and killed her. The case is still ongoing at the Stellenbosch Court.

The abovementioned death occurred approximately one month ago but a few years ago there was another case in Stellenbosch where one student was alleged to have killed his girlfriend in a crime of passion. He was acquitted in that case, as there could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he had murdered his girlfriend with a hammer (the Fred Van Der Vyfer case).

In another reported case in a Sunday newspaper a twenty year old female student was assaulted with a glass in a bar by her ex-boyfriend allegedly. She had allegedly broken up with him a few months earlier. Her face was so badly cut that she is even suing him for R700, 000.00 as damages, in addition to the criminal charges which were opened against him.

A divorce is very often acrimonious and is accompanied by some form of domestic violence. I recently had a case where I was acting for the husband. His wife kept on sending sms messages declaring her love for him. She appeared to be very jealous and manipulative and, according to my instructions from my client, very often drove past my client's new place of residence spying on him to see if he had a new girlfriend. This was a typical case of stalking. Eventually when she got no reaction from my client she came to his business one day with a baseball bat, smashing some of the windows in.

I urge my clients who are going through a divorce or who have divorced to look out for certain signs. These signs would no doubt apply to any relationship, being a marriage relationship or not. If somebody persistently phones you saying they love you or “cant live without you”, you are definitely being stalked. Even if somebody just phones you and hangs up, this is also a case of stalking. The stalker believes that eventually you will “see the light” and go back to him or her. Cellular phones and the internet make stalking so much easier.

The best thing to do if you believe you are being stalked is to seek to obtain a protection order or peace order against the person stalking you. It may be best to consult your attorney first. You can get a magistrate's court interdict against a stalker if you lived together in the past or on weekends. Failure to comply to the order could lead to a fine or imprisonment. If you never lived with the stalker you would need to apply for an interdict in the High Court.

One should keep records of all dates and times when you were stalked. You should also advise family and friends that you are being stalked and by who. You can always advise your service provider to block the stalker's calls. Stalking is very serious, particularly as many stalkers have psychological problems. Some even suffer from bipolar disorders or Schizophrenia. Taking steps to get an interdict could save your life.

article written by Cape Town lawyer, Peter M Baker


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