NPA hails SCA’s judgment

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gavel_may 14 Independent Newspapers File photo

The NPA hailed a Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruling on Friday against a judgment that a man could not be sentenced because of a flaw in the Sexual Offences Act.

The SCA upheld an appeal by the Western Cape director for public prosecutions (DPP).

“The decision to appeal this judgment was informed by the far reaching implications on sexual violence cases in the whole province...,” the National Prosecuting Authority said.

In a statement, it said the decision also had implications for government's efforts to fight the rate of sexual violence, especially against women and children.

The NPA said the judgment confirmed its belief that courts had an inherent discretion to impose an appropriate sentence in cases where no penalty provision was provided by legislation.

“The NPA will continue its aggressive approach in prosecuting sexual abuse cases without hindrance.”

It said all cases which were partly heard and had been postponed pending finalisation of this appeal would proceed and cases which were provisionally withdrawn would be reinstated and trials would proceed.

“Prosecutors will now charge people in respect of new cases which had been brought to prosecutors by police for decision and where arrests were put on hold pending the SCA ruling.”

The SCA overturned a Western Cape High Court decision which held that criminal charges could not be successfully pursued and prosecuted in respect of sexual offences under the Sexual Offences and Related Matters Amendment Act (SOA).

The High Court's decision followed a decision by the Riversdale Magistrate's Court that a man who forcibly fondled a woman in 2009 could not be sentenced because the behaviour had no penalty under the SOA.

Arnold Prins was charged with sexual assault in terms of the Act, which came into effect at the end of 2007. – Sapa


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