Court upholds magistrate's conviction

2012-10-01 11:25
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Johannesburg - The KwaZulu-Natal High Court dismissed an appeal by a retired magistrate to have his sexual harassment conviction overturned, The Star reported on Monday.

Steve Mundree, aged 67 when the crime was committed, was found guilty of sexual harassment after he lured a 24-year-old clerk into his office on the pretext of giving her chocolates.

The trial was held in the Durban Magistrate's Court in 2010, the same courtroom Mundree presided in before his retirement. He was handed a five-year suspended sentence.

Mundree argued the woman initiated the intimacy between them.

When she flirted with him and the magistrate said her husband was making a mistake by leaving her, she did not discourage it, Mundree's lawyer Paddy Prior argued.

Judge Kevin Swain said in the context of all the evidence, Mundree could not "subjectively" have believed the clerk was consenting to his unexpected and crude advances.

The five-year suspended sentence was upheld.

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