Carl Lotter - child rapist - on trial 14th October 2011
Today, the 3rd November, 2011, Women And Men Against Child Abuse (WMACA) was contacted by the new Prosecutor appointed to manage the ‘ scarf case’ by the NPA. WMACA welcomes this appointment by the NPA!
See our post – dated 11th August 2011 – Women And Men Against Child Abuse (WMACA) arrived in Nelspruit on the 13th October and held several meetings throughout the day with all relevant role players in preparation for the court demonstration the following day. Our meetings included, The Serpie Funds Movement, a Sand Art Therapist, GRIP, the Lowvelder, the parents of the victims of the Lotter case as mentioned below and the ‘scarf case victim’ and her family.
On the eve of the 13th the WMACA team in Nelspruit spent most of the night making posters protesting the shockingly inadequate services to child victims by the Nelspruit Court and calling for the alleged child rapist to be held in custody and not granted bail as has been done previously for the safety of these victims and our society at large. On the 14th of October we participated in the demonstrations in support of the four child victims in the rape case against Mr. Carl Christiaan Lötter which was brought to trial at the magistrate’s court of Nelspruit. The family involved was subpoenaed to report at the Nelspruit Magistrate Court at 08h00. The four child rape victims had to wait for more than 4 hours for the case to commence since the Magistrate was not present and only arrived after 12h00!
Women And men Against Child Abuse participated in a demonstration outside the Nelspruit Court 14 October 2011
WMACA participated in the court demonstrations on the 14th for this case as in the scarf case (the rape and scissor attack opened in December 2008) has been postponed too many times and without many times postponed for unreasonable periods of time – specifically in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga. Sufficient reasons – causing untold secondary trauma to the many child victims in Nelspruit.
Soon after commencement of proceedings, Mr. Coert Jordan (defence council for the accused, Mr. Lötter) insisted that the oldest child (still under the legal age) testify in court, and face the accused for the first time since the case was opened in 2009. These witnesses are all still considered as minors, and should therefore receive all protection possible to ensure no further trauma could ensue.
The purpose of intermediary services to the child witness is to reduce the trauma experienced by the child. However, efforts to reduce the trauma in an adversarial court system are complicated by the arguments that the prosecution of sexual abuse cannot take place in disregard of the rights of the alleged perpetrator. South Africa made international legal (and human rights) history with the promulgation of Section 170A of Criminal Procedures Act 51 of 1977 which was introduced through the Criminal Law Amendment Act 135 of 1991. This provides for the appointment of an intermediary for children in cases of sexual abuse for reasons of youthfulness or emotional vulnerability.
All four children’s need for psychological help have been wavered, as is an unexplained common practice in these cases in violation of our Constitution and our laws protecting children’s rights, until such time as the accused and the case receives a final ruling as the results thereof can be used against them. According to the Directives issued by the Department of Justice to the SAPS and Prosecutors, there are no stipulations that victims and witnesses of sexual abuse should not receive therapy and counselling. Many NGO’s offer various therapy options that do not contaminate evidence or influence witness’s testimonies. The purpose of the intermediary service is to reduce trauma to child victims, however the court allowed the 17-year old witness to be exposed to the perpetrator.
The intermediate arranged for this case however was unsuitable since she is a personal friend of the defence attorney, Mr. Coert Jordan. Understandably the child was incredibly traumatised by this exposure, and had to be taken to the Med clinic ER the following afternoon for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Panic Disorder / Episodic Paroxysmal Anxiety.
The case was yet again postponed and rescheduled for 22 December 2011, although Coert Jordaan has tried to apply to the court to bring the trial date forward to the 2nd December. Please note that this is now the 16th time this case has been postponed and has been lagging on for more than 2 years.
The following points are of concern:
a) Mr. Carl Christiaan Lötter, the accused, pleaded GUILTY on 4 of the 8 counts against him of rape and molestation of 4 minor children. He admitted to doing these heinous crimes to not only one, but four different children.
b) The accused is not a first time offender, and should not be granted bail while the case is still open and under investigation. GBH Randburg 464/2/1997 for “indecent assault” and in East London 707/1/1993 for “theft”.
d) Although Mr. Lötter’s previous bail was based on various conditions, many of these were not adhered too. Mr. Lötter may not come into contact with the children or their home within a 10km radius and may not enter their school premises, but he is currently still living within one kilometre from the Primary school of two of the children and entering the school grounds on a regular basis. These children have been harassed by Mr. Lötter as he would sit in his vehicle outside the gates of the primary and high schools on various occasions, traumatising them to the extent that they would not feel safe to return to school for some days later. His vehicle was also spotted on many occasions parked directly outside their home. Unfortunately the police insists that Mr. Lötter should be caught while in the act, and this have not been possible as of yet. It is against these children’s constitutional right to be exposed to the accused while the case is still pending.
WMACA supports the call to:
1) Firstly to remove Mr. Lötter from the public and society until such time as his hearing is finalized, as well as ALL sex offender’s accused or convicted of child molestation, rape and indecent assault on children that are currently on bail, awaiting trial and sentencing.
We believe the nature of these crimes validates the outrage felt by every person in our society and that our courts have the power and authority to keep our children safe from the possible harm of these self-confessed perpetrators.
2) We request that the ruling for the children to testify in court in front of their accused without any social worker or psychological support, be re-examined, as we believe this to be against their rights.
We furthermore believe these children are all suffering from severe Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, as they have not received any therapy or counselling since their abuse so many years ago. We therefore appeal to the courts to take their volatile and fragile emotional and physical state into consideration, as the safety of the REAL victims should be the first priority of the court.