Court sets aside Laurie Frazer sentence

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) on Thursday upheld an appeal by Laurie Frazer, who in 1997 made headlines for several failed attempts to get custody of his child, who was given up for adoption without his consent.

The SCA set aside his prison sentence of four years imposed by the Johannesburg Regional Court and replaced it with a fine of R10 000, plus four years’ imprisonment suspended for four years under certain conditions.

Frazer will also have to do 416 hours community service in the casualty department of the Knysna Provincial hospital during his suspended sentence.

The court ordered that his community service as a hospital porter start next week on Saturday and that he should report to the hospital on every succeeding Saturday to work between 2pm and 6pm.

Frazer was convicted of conspiring to kidnap Timothy Funnell, his child, given up by the mother for adoption.

Timothy was born in 1995 during a relationship Frazer had with musician Adri Naude.

Naude consented to an adoption by the Funnells in February 1996, who at the time were in Malawi as missionaries.

Frazer’s conviction relates to conspiring to kidnap his son in Malawi and bring him back to South Africa.

Judge of Appeal Ian Farlam said Frazer’s case differed from other kidnapping cases, which involved efforts to extract ransom from parents or to commit an unlawful act with the kidnapped child.

He said, however, that Frazer’s offence had been serious and that a message had to be sent out indicating that offences of this kind could not and would not be tolerated.

The conditions to Frazer’s suspended sentence state that he should not be convicted of the same crimes of which he was found guilty or contempt of any court order relating to his child. — Sapa

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