A Durban man, who “seduced” a 14-year-old on Mxit, has been sentenced to an effective eight years in prison for the abduction and statutory rape of the girl.
Juan Lyle Olivier, 35, was teary eyed when Durban Regional Court magistrate Melodious Gwala delivered her judgment and sentence on Tuesday.
He will now also be listed on the sexual offences register after evidence was led that he had searched for young children on the internet.
“It is the duty of every member of society to protect children. You took advantage of a young child who was vulnerable,” Gwala said.
Olivier was arrested on May 31 last year for abducting the teen and keeping her for 10 days at his Queensburgh home, where he lived with his mother.
Police had been searching for the girl after she went missing from her Glenhills home on May 20.
At the time, neighbours and school friends made impassioned pleas on Facebook for her to return home.
Olivier met the girl on Mxit and the pair had chatted and exchanged pictures of each other naked, weeks before the abduction.
The teen was later picked up by Olivier and stayed at his home where they shared a bedroom.
They had sexual intercourse on 10 occasions and the girl had refused once, the court had heard.
The teen had chatted to Olivier about problems at home and testified that it was his suggestion that she move in with him.
Olivier denied this and said she decided to move in with him.
The girl had told the court she had believed Olivier when he told her he was 17 because he looked young in a picture he had sent her.
In his evidence, Olivier claimed she had told him she was 16.
Olivier’s mother had testified that when she learnt that police were searching for the complainant, the teenager assured her she would contact her father’s girlfriend.
She said she was not aware the girl was 14.
Using a cellphone, the teen had called a friend in Cape Town and told him about her ordeal.
Olivier said he found out about the search for the teen on a website, two days before the police arrived at his home.
He said he loved the teen and denied ever forcing himself on her.
Gwala said that although the complainant had played an active part in leaving home, she was a minor and it was an offence for anyone to remove a minor without permission from a parent or legal guardian.
“It is clear from the evidence that she was removed, by Olivier, from the care of her father with the intent to have sex with her,” the magistrate said.
Referring to evidence that at some stage the teen and Olivier went to the beach for ice cream, the magistrate said: “The complainant had every opportunity to alert someone to what was happening.
“Coupled with her initial involvement in moving out of her home, the court finds it difficult to prove the lack of consent.”
Proceedings almost came to an abrupt halt yesterday when the magistrate said evidence must be presented where “age is an issue”.
Realising that something was amiss, senior prosecutor, Val Melis, asked for the matter to stand down.
During the short adjournment it appeared that there was uncertainty about whether the teenager’s birth certificate had been handed in because the magistrate said she had not seen it.
But Melis had submitted it at the outset of the trial. Gwala then found the document with the charge sheet, prompting sighs of relief all round. On resumption, the magistrate maintained her verdict on statutory rape.
However, Olivier was acquitted on an additional count of rape after the complainant in that matter did not testify.