Private Prosecution Unit supports abused woman in laying a complaint after legal system fails her

AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit supported Leonie Kambouris on 5 August to lay a criminal complaint of abuse at the Benoni police station. This follows the police’s refusal to help her when she tried to lay a complaint in July this year after having obtained a protection order against her husband in June 2020.

The Unit’s investigation team helped Kambouris to make a complete affidavit. Howewer, despite this, rude policemen once again refused to accept the affidavit, accusing her in public of being 50% complicit in the abuse. Thereafter, the question of jurisdiction was raised, with the officer on duty being more worried about where the abuse took place than about the victim’s well-being.  The officer on duty also refused to accept the already sworn statement and the victim was then compelled to read her own statement word for word for the officer to write down. This was the only way to ensure that her complaint was indeed registered. Her already sworn statement was declared a “private statement”.

“It is worrying that AfriForum has to intervene in more and more similar cases to compel the authorities to execute their duties. The legal system is increasingly failing vulnerable people in our communities – while politicians promise strict actions against those who commit crimes against women and children. This case is once again proof of the many instances where the authorities are unable or unwilling to execute their duties,” says Phyllis Vorster, a Prosecutor at AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit.

Mrs. Kambouris testified in her affidavit that she has been involved in an abusive relationship since 2014. During this time, she sustained multiple serious injuries, among which a miscarriage. A warrant was issued earlier this year for the arrest of the accused in the case, but this expired without him ever being arrested.

Kambouris wanted to lay a complaint with the police on 25 July 2020 after she sustained serious injuries, among others bruises to her face and damage to her optical nerves. The SAPD refused to open a case, however, referring to the incident as merely a case of domestic violence.

The Unit also supported Erika Brown, a witness of Kambouris’s abuse. Brown laid a complaint of damage to property after Kabouris’s husband had damaged Brown’s car and other property.

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