Child abuser faces more charges under new law


Nation learned during the weekend that the man is charged before the same court for defiling a nine-year-old girl during the time when the law demanding life jail terms as the maximum sentence was already in force.

The man was jailed for eight years for sexually molesting a boy in 2004 when the lad was aged 10, and although that was the toughest sentence the court could impose, the magistrate has the option of trying the accused but referring the case to the Supreme Court for sentencing, which analysts said is likely to happen.

Sentencing the man on Friday magistrate Brassel Adeline said child abuse has become a major concern as 41 new cases had been registered within 12 months.

Court officials however said while many people did not bother to bring such offences to court because of the low likelihood of an offender being found guilty, a recent ruling by the Court of Appeal makes it easier for a child abuser to be found guilty because the higher court’s judges said it is no longer necessary for evidence to be supported by what other witnesses say – since when such crimes are committed there is usually no other people watching who would also be willing to testify what they saw in court.

“A court now only needs to decide whether the person giving evidence is credible or not for his or her evidence to be taken into account,” a judge who is based here told Nation by telephone from the international tribunal in De Hague where he is temporarily attached during further studies.

When delivering sentence on Friday, Mr Adeline said as per the law in force at the time of the commission of the first offence, it carried a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and there was no minimum mandatory sentence which was only introduced in 2005 which provided for a minimum mandatory sentence of seven years for a first time offender, or for a first conviction, and 14 years for a second conviction for the offence within a period of 10 years from the first conviction.

“The law was amended last year increasing both the minimum mandatory sentence and the maximum sentence for the offence,” said Mr Adeline.

“The minimum mandatory sentence of seven years for first conviction has been increased to 14 years and for a second conviction within a period of 10 years from the first conviction has been increased to 28 years, whereas, the maximum prison sentence for the offence is now life imprisonment,” he said.

“Not only does the number of cases filed give reason for concern, but it also shows that not all of our children are safe whether at home, in the community or in our society at large,” he said.

In his judgment, Mr Adeline had explained how the convict he jailed lured the victim from his mother at 9pm:
“The accused came to his mother and asked permission to take him at his own mother’s place at Pointe Larue, but instead of taking him to his mother, the accused took him to his girl friend.

“The victim said on the way to the man’s girlfriend’s place in the dark he asked the boy to undress so that he could … (unprintable words used here) … but when the victim refused the accused forcefully took his pants off and went on to commit his hideous crime, promising the boy R25 and repeated the act under a rock pledging R50 and impelling the 10-year-old not to tell his mother anything about the incident.

Mr Adeline said in a small country governed by constitutionality where the rule of law prevails, and one which affords all its citizens – including children – the human right to dignity, those who are engaged in crimes of this nature should expect what the law and the criminal justice system has in store for them.

“The fact that more cases are being filed in court is at least a sign of comfort and an indication that the partners of our criminal justice system are becoming increasingly more effective in their endeavour to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice. It also indicates that people are gaining more confidence in our criminal justice system as more and more of those criminals are put behind bars,” said Mr Adeline.

“To achieve greater success, the family, the community and society at large needs to be more vigilant and pro-active in helping to detect these crimes. They need to discharge their moral or legal responsibility by reporting each and every single incident that comes to their knowledge, and to be more corporative with the law enforcement agencies. In doing so, they would be making a better contribution towards a good cause for the protection of our children and for the good of their future,” he said.