Section 18 of the Criminal Procedure Act declared unconstitutional

As we evolve in culture and consciousness so does our Law.  The facts surrounding this declaration of unconstitutionality  are stark reminders of the cruel reality that for some unknown reason there are deviant adults who prey sexually on children and in doing so cause them irreparable harm.

The impetus behind this case being heard by Acting Judge Clare Hartford at the Johannesburg High Court was a string of criminal complaints against billionaire Sidney Frankel for allegedly sexually molesting at least 8 children over 20 years ago.

Section 18 of the Criminal Procedure Act provides for a time period of 20 years within which certain crimes have to be prosecuted, failing which the right to institute a prosecution will lapse. The crimes which can be prosecuted without a time bar are those considered to be of a very serious nature such as murder, aggravated robbery, kidnapping, child stealing, treason, rape, and genocide amongst others.

Let’s be grateful that severely harming children, as well as adults, through sexually assaulting them has now been added to that list and let’s hope that our Courts continue to advance our law in order to protect those who were unable to protect themselves as they were too young and ashamed to speak out about what had happened to them.

The down side is that an enormous amount of funding was necessary for such a task, no doubt running into tens of millions of Rands making Justice quite an expensive commodity which most people cannot afford at the best of times.



Buying a new house or property


Purchasing a property is a huge step and an important investment. Most people will only go through the process a few times in the span of their lives. We have come across some shady situations in the property sales business which we have had to defend our clients against.

What we mean by shady is shady estate agents and attorneys and conveyancers that they work with.

An example comes to mind of a client who was sold a house by a man he was introduced to through an estate agency. Our client apparently signed an offer to purchase which stated that payment will be made upon “signature”.

This is frightening wording and we advise you to please check any agreements you are signing for snares and traps which are out of the ordinary. The usual clause is that the payment is made “upon transfer” of the property, that is once the deed of transfer has been signed by the Registrar of Deeds and an authorised conveyancer at the Deeds Office.

The above term was contrived and in order to fully keep our client unawares the seller requested payment be made to a conveyancer which he appointed.

Two years later the property had not been transferred to our client and we discovered the reasons were extremely sinister.

The seller firstly did not own the house, secondly the Conveyancer immediately paid him the funds that were placed in trust on the strength of the above clause for payment upon signature. Please remember that means our client paid a person with no claim to the property the full purchase price without the possibility of transfer taking place.

The extra step of payment to a conveyancer was smoke and mirrors as the seller knew our client never in their wildest dream intended payment to be made upon signature, if they did they could have paid the seller directly, not paid into an attorneys trust account. The situation was a carefully contrived fraud.

We took action and tightened the screw on all the parties that were involved and recouped our client’s funds. The story ended happily ever after, but many don’t.

Please take precautions when buying a new property such as checking the estate agent is registered as such, and that the seller is the owner of the property. Make sure you understand the contracts and ultimately make sure you are not going to become a statistic who loses a huge amount of money because of an unscrupulous fraud.

Contact us if you are contemplating purchasing a new home and allow us to assist you in protecting your interests before signing anything.

In addition we welcome the opportunity to do any property transfer that you may need done as a seller or a purchaser and will welcome the appointment as your transfer attorneys to attend to the conveyancing.


Marriage and antenuptial or prenuptial contracts


Before entering into a marriage or civil union each person needs to be aware that marriage changes their status and it has an effect on the ownership and title to their assets which were until then completely independent of anyone else.

The antenuptial agreement needs to be entered into before the marriage or civil union is concluded to be valid and the parties can choose from three different marital regimes, being in community of property, out of community of property with the accrual system, or out of community of property without the accrual system.

We provide a comprehensive advisory service in relation to antenuptial or prenuptial contracts and we will assist you and your partner in drafting and having it registered.

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