Cape Town - The withdrawal of charges against a nine-year-old's alleged rapist and killer is worrying, Western Cape community safety MEC Dan Plato said on Thursday.
“Too many victims of crime are left without justice as too many suspects and offenders do not get their full day in court,” he said in a statement.
He was referring to the provincial director of public prosecutions' decision to withdraw charges against a 27-year-old man in the Bellville District Court, in Cape Town, on Wednesday.
The man was arrested on January 19. Initially, he faced charges of abduction, sexual assault, rape, and attempted murder.
Because the victim died in hospital from her burns on March 18, the attempted murder charge was changed to murder.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) provincial spokesman Eric Ntabazalila said the girl had been the only witness to the incident.
In court on Wednesday, prosecutor Herculine Swart said the process of analysing forensic evidence against the man was technical, complicated, and would take an undetermined amount of time.
She said charges could be reinstated following further investigation.
Ntabazalila said some of the evidence sent for analysis had come back with inconclusive results.
“The remaining evidence still to be analysed will require a longer process and the State is unable to say when this will be finalised.”
He said the NPA would ensure that every aspect of the investigation was exhausted.
Plato said it was a sad day and a blow to the justice system when yet another case was shelved because of “insufficient evidence” for a conviction.
He would ask for a full update from his department so that he could assist the SA Police Service with any potential shortcomings in the process.
Plato would also raise the ongoing investigation with provincial police commissioner Arno Lamoer.
“Shortly before Youth Day (on Monday) this case must not be remembered as the day our criminal justice system failed our innocent youth.”