Saucy images now in sheriff’s hands
IF YOU still have compromising pictures of your former lover and you’re inclined to flaunt them, it’s best you hand the photos back, because you’re not entitled to them.
This was the message of two judges of the high court in Joburg.
In an appeal judgment, they ruled that a scorned lover who flaunted naked and other compromising pictures and videos of his former lover on social media had to hand them over to the sheriff.
In terms of the judgment, all the man’s digital devices had to be placed “in the temporary custody” of the sheriff so that a forensic expert could identify any pictures depicting the woman, which had to be permanently deleted.
The judgment, which refers to the woman as KS and the man as AM in order to protect the woman’s identity, followed an appeal by the woman.
She had obtained a domestic violence order against the man, in terms of which he was interdicted from abusing or contacting her. He was also interdicted from posting any explicit sexual videos or pictures of her on social media.
The order was granted in terms of section 7 of the Domestic Violence Act.
KS, however, wanted the magistrate to go a step further to ensure that AM had no more offending pictures of her in his possession. She wanted an expert to examine his electronic equipment to ensure that any remaining pictures were deleted.
But the magistrate was of the opinion that as he had interdicted the man from publishing these images, there was no need for him to grant the further order. He also voiced his concern that in having the sheriff search his home for possible images, it would infringe on AM’s right to privacy.
The high court heard that the couple met in 2014 and their relationship grew to a point that they had agreed to get married. It all went sour when AM’s wife suddenly arrived at KS’s home.
KS, who said she had no idea that he was married, subsequently dumped him. AM, however, said if he could not have her no one would. He threatened her over the phone and through text messages.
He later created a fraudulent Facebook account in the name of KS and posted explicit sexual video footage and pictures of her on it. He made telephonic threats to her that he could not live without her and that he knew hijackers and gangs who would harm her and her family.
KS turned to the lower court for protection, which she was partially afforded. But on appeal she said she was not fully protected if her abuser was still in possession and control of the offending material.
Judge Edwin Molahlehi, in a judgment collaborated by Judge L Vuma, said the courts were obligated to protect women against sexual abuse in any form. He commented it was clear that the explicit images were of a private nature and that it was for their enjoyment while they were still a couple. “The conduct of the respondent (the man) spreads the insubordination of women in society and, if not stopped in its tracks, will undoubtedly perpetuate the threat to the self-determination of women in society.”