‘By Bongekile Nkomo
Thou shall not commit adultery’ – one of commandments acknowledged in the Christian religion however as the world evolves the values installed in the bible are traded in for earthly passions. According to Judge Mokgere Masipa from the Durban High Court, accusing someone of committing adultery cannot be said to be defamatory because the society and the communities no longer view the conduct as wrong.
The matter at hand erupted when a local doctor tried to sue a close family friend for accusing him of having an affair with his wife, ‘the society’s view on adultery meant that the doctor could not claim that his status and good name had been violated’, Judge Masipa said.
The doctor counter sued for defamation and the key witness in the case was the domestic worker. The domestic worker testified that she had once seen the doctor and wife kissing in the passageway at 7am. This clearly defined adultery!
The defamatory matter claim brought to the court by the doctor failed because the matter had not been published. The act of adultery committed by the doctor was also not seen as an offense by the doctor because according to the constitutional court pronouncement ‘that in light of changing mores of society will be changed’ adultery is no longer an offence and angry spouses can no longer sue a third party in a relationship for damages.