Johannesburg - It is said hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
Two Pretoria High Court judges had some sympathy with a woman who, in a “crime of passion”, pulled her two-timing husband so badly by the testicles that he had to have stitches.
Judges Ronel Tolmay and Cynthia Pretorius reduced the sentence handed to Gladys Chauke from a R3 000 fine or 12 months’ imprisonment, to a fine of R1 000 or three months’ imprisonment, which they wholly suspended.
They said the magistrate should have considered it a mitigating factor that it had been a “crime of passion”.
“The assault itself was not of such a serious nature. The sentence induces a sense of shock,” Judge Tolmay said.
The Limpopo magistrate who sentenced the 27-year-old woman for assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm told the two judges that Chauke deserved the penalty because she had attacked “a very delicate, intricate part of the human anatomy”.
The matter came before the high court on review following Chauke’s sentencing in September.
Chauke had pleaded not guilty and conducted her own defence.
It emerged that the incident took place after the fed-up Chauke called her husband to meet her at the home of his girlfriend.
She then locked the three of them in a room and confronted her husband about the affair.
She told the court her husband, Amos Mashimbye, had attacked her during the altercation.
She had then pulled him by the testicles, hit him over the head with a wooden spoon and bitten him.
The girlfriend (whose name is not mentioned in the judgment) said she had to forcibly remove Chauke’s hand from her husband’s genitals. Mashimbye jumped, “with blood streaming from his testicles”, out of a window to get away.
Chauke said she had acted in self-defence.
Mashimbye told the court that the injury was so severe that a doctor had to patch up his genitals.
“I don’t know why she assaulted me. She said a lot of things, including that she wanted to kill me,” he told the court.
Chauke accused Mashimbye of assaulting her that day and told him: “You pulled me by my underwear.”
His response was: “But you did not wear any underwear that day.”
The magistrate said in his explanation to the judges that Chauke was not provoked, and she had been the instigator as she had lured her husband to his girlfriend’s home.
She had locked the door and thrown the key out of the window.
“Instead of resolving this impasse of her husband’s infidelity, she battered him in a vicious, cruel and degrading manner…
“His testicles were grappled and pulled with such brutal, crude and raw force that he bled profusely,” the magistrate said.