Child rape victims let down again in the Pretoria North Regional Court this morning!
WMACA members were at the Pretoria North Regional Court and were dismayed at what went on in the court room this morning – further delays were caused with all the wrangling about viewing of evidence and changes of defence counsels. We are nearly two years into this case and the trial has not commenced!
We at WMACA agree with the State’s argument that they cannot reproduce the video evidence but it is available to the Defence to view. The State must protect the children and act accordingly. The court must decide what is in the best interest of justice and more importantly the court must act in the best interests of the children’s rights and protection.
Bail applications were amended as requested. Even though an application for a reduction in the amount of accused 1’ s bail to R15,000.- was granted he will remain in custody. All the other accused must report Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 6am and 9pm to either the Hammanskraal and Pretoria North SAPS stations. Written permission is needed from the investigating officer for any of the accused to leave the Wonderboom or Pretoria jurisdictions. The Magistrate postponed for decision on evidence to the 31 July, 2012.
Todays proceedings were delayed as accused number 1, had to be found in the holding cells, one of the Defence Attorney, Advocate de Jager was absent and only appeared at court midday and the newly appointed Investigating Officer, Captain Maleho claimed that he had not had sufficient time to view the evidence which he had only received on Monday 12 June.
I.O. Maleho has taken over from Tonya Louwrens the previous investigating officer who announced her resignation from SAPS as a result of what we all saw happening in the court at the last hearing in March. Louwrens expressed feeling psychologically traumatised by the explicit evidence of this case and by having to bear witness to how the child victims are ignored and let down by our judicial system. As Louwrens stated not once was the well-being of the children discussed in the court and not one of the child victims family members enquired on how their children are doing. Louwrens might have to testify at future hearings.
What we saw again today is a prime example of how the rights of the accused are upheld but the rights of the child victims are completely disrespected and their well-being disregarded. WMACA is very concerned about the secondary trauma that the child victims will endure after such a lengthy time lapse between when they first disclosed their abuse to finally when they will be required to testify.
The nine accused all members of a Pretoria family; face more than 100 charges of child rape and sexual abuse related to child pornography against their own and foster children. They are a grandfather, 58, grandmother, 57, their two sons from previous relationships, aged 34 and 36, the grandfather’s brother, 61, his wife, 42, and their son, who is reportedly mentally disabled. The 26-year-old wife of one of the sons was also arrested. The ninth person was a 31-year old woman believed to be the wife of accused number eight. She was arrested in January 2011 near Hammanskraal.