Judge calls halt to sex, lies and a video tape

In a High Court sitting in Durban Judge Robin Mossop said the respondent had behaved in a disgraceful manner towards the mother of his child.

In a High Court sitting in Durban Judge Robin Mossop said the respondent had behaved in a disgraceful manner towards the mother of his child.

Published May 21, 2024


For nearly five years, a woman has been living in fear that her former husband would post a video on social media of her having sex with another woman in the couple’s then-matrimonial home.

While the husband has denied showing anyone the recording, the woman, who has remarried, was told by others how he had shown portions of the recording to some of his friends and even to one of his girlfriends.

The husband said he had shown only “a thumbnail” of it to his girlfriend.

The man told the high court sitting in Durban that he had only “about three minutes” of the recording on his phone.

But his former wife, the applicant, said he had a recording of between 40 and 60 minutes of her encounter with the other woman.

Judge Robin Mossop frowned on the husband’s explanations and found them untrue.

While he admitted to having a snippet of the footage, the husband said: “When I had the opportunity of looking at the video footage, I thought I might see something which might assist me in my case insofar as it dealt with the care and custody of our son.”

The judge said: “That may have been the original motivation for making the video. Indeed, it probably was.

But once a settlement acceptable to the respondent (the husband) had been achieved, that did not mean that the video lost meaning or its reason to exist. It was now a trophy that he could show to his friends and a tool that he could still employ to control the applicant in the future.”

The husband obtained the footage in June 2019. His former wife, for the first time since then, obtained peace of mind when the court interdicted him from ever revealing the footage or still pictures of it to anyone.

“The respondent’s conduct is worthy only of censure. His conduct in delaying the handing over of his handset (to be analysed) and then prohibiting a full and thorough investigation of whether the video continues to exist casts grave doubt on his assertions that the video does not exist,” the judge said.

Judge Mossop added that the former husband’s conduct towards the applicant had been designed to embarrass and humiliate her.

He said the consequences for the applicant could be catastrophic if he attempted to do the same in the future.

The matter involved a secret part of the applicant’s life that she wished to keep that way.

Before they divorced, the couple separated and the applicant remained in the matrimonial home while the respondent moved to alternative accommodation.

The wife’s anguish followed an incident when after their break-up, her husband went to the house in her absence and came across security camera footage.

He used the camera on his phone to film the encounter displayed on the television set.

He then told her about it but said he had recorded only a fraction of the sexual encounter on his phone and had not shown it to anyone.

A year later, while out with her friends, a male friend told her he had seen the footage. The applicant said she had been “mortified” to hear that.

When she had confronted her husband, he had responded: “I got rid of that thing because it disgusted me.”

She had believed him and had continued with her life, remarried and had another child. However, in April last year, she met a friend while taking their children to swimming lessons.

Her friend had told her that she knew of others who had seen the footage. One of the women who saw it confirmed that she had seen “a portion” of it.

In January last year, her ex-husband had shown the video to his male friends during a social gathering.

The judge said the respondent had behaved in a disgraceful manner towards the mother of his child and must, for once and all, be interdicted from doing so.

Cape Times