Three High Court judges, sitting in Johannesburg, South Africa, as an Appeal Bench, have found an agreement between a now-estranged couple is invalid because the woman signed due to the ‘undue influence’ of her then partner. The agreement would have given the man half the sale price of the woman’s property if their relationship ended, which it did, just days after she signed, when he became violent and she obtained a protection order against him. The man then demanded his share of the property and business as detailed in the agreement. Although the trial court found in his favour, saying she had not signed the agreement under duress, the appeal judges closely analysed the details of their relationship and found clear signs of his ‘undue influence’ over her. They therefore held that she did not sign the agreement voluntarily and thus effectively set it aside.
Despite the scourge of wildlife poaching across Africa, the courts seldom see either poachers or smugglers in the dock. A recent trial followed by an appeal, however, has given members of the judiciary in Namibia a chance to express their concern about these crimes and to consider the prison term that should be imposed.
The story begins just like a movie: a police sergeant working the x-ray conveyor belt machine at Namibia’s Hosea Kutako International Airport suddenly spots something suspicious about two suitcases as they pass through the scan. She offloads them, and then calls their owners from the departure hall.