A High Court judge has defended the delict of adultery and said it must remain in the statutes to protect the institution of marriage.
Justice Sunsley Zisengwe of the Masvingo High Court said this when he ordered Provincial Medical Director (PMD), Dr. Amadeus Shamu’s mistress Ancercaria Taderera to pay US$13 000 to his wife Tatyana Shamu.
According to The Mirror, Justice Zisengwe said that Tatyana broke down in court as she narrated how her husband built a house for his mistress when she as a wife didn’t have any.
The Judge said he even felt pity for Tatyana as she was on the witness stand and recounting her experience. Said Justice Zisengwe:
The plaintiff cast a sorrowful and pitiful sight on the witness stand as she recounted the humiliation, pain and indignity she had to endure on account of the adulterous relationship.
As a consequence, she lapsed into a depression necessitating medical intervention.
The Mirror reported that the judge warned that the introduction of civil partnerships under the new Marriage Act, Chapter 5:15 last year does not remove the delict of adultery.
He said civil partnerships were only introduced to deal with sharing of properties where a relationship had existed.
The existence of civil partnerships in the Marriage Act does not, therefore, remove adultery as it serves a different purpose, Justice Zisengwe said.
He further said that the delict of adultery was important in the laws to serve two purposes; as a deterrent to would-be transgressors and therefore preserve the sanctity and protect marriages.
Justice Zisengwe said that damages from adultery give solace to the innocent spouse who is affected.
Shamu’s relationship with Taderera started in 2011 and resulted in two children. Tatyana only discovered the affair in 2019.
There was an out-of-court settlement in which Taderera paid US$5 000 in compensation for monies and other favours that she had received from Dr. Shamu.
After the settlement, the parties agreed that Taderera would stop the adulterous relationship.
However, Tatyana decided to sue for US$50 000 after realizing that the two continued with their affair.
The damages claimed by Tatyana were for contumelia and loss of consortium.
Justice Zisengwe granted Tatyana US$5 000 for contumelia. The judge said Taderera’s case was worsened by her lack of contrition.
In court, Taderera said Tatyana’s depression was not caused by the illicit relationship but by the war in Ukraine because she is a Ukrainian.
For contumelia, Justice Zisengwe granted Tatyana US$8 000 because her marriage had all but collapsed.
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