Rape minors face full prosecution

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IOL news apr 20 ST gangrape952 (24747260) INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Five of the seven males suspected of gang-raping a 17-year-old Soweto girl walk to the Roodepoort Magistrates Court. File Photo: Chris Collingridge

 Three of the four minors accused of gang-rape will face full prosecution in the Roodepoort Magistrate's Court, the National Prosecuting Authority said on Wednesday.

“All the accused persons, including the three minors, will appear in court together – they will not be diverted,” spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said at court.

“In respect of the fourth minor, the 13-year-old, we still have to determine his criminal capacity. Remember, between the ages of 7 and 14 they are presumed to be criminally incapable.”

Seven people, including four minors, were arrested in Dobsonville, Soweto on April 17, after they were matched to the descriptions of the rapists seen in a cellphone video recording of a gang-rape.

The video of the 17-year-old mentally impaired girl being raped went “viral” on the internet on April 18, and was one of the main topics trending on social networking site Twitter.

“This is a very serious offence,” said Mhaga.

Mhaga said the four minors were applying for bail on Wednesday.

A preliminary inquiry into how to deal with four minors got underway in the morning.

“Prosecutors will decide whether they will be subjected to full prosecution or a diversion programme. Then we'll deal with bail application,” Mhaga said in court.

“The preliminary inquiry is done in terms of the Child Justice Act.”

Mhaga said investigations confirmed that one of the seven is 13-years-old, three of them are 17, one 18, and two 19.

A group of protesters gathered outside the court on Wednesday in support of the girl and her family. The girl's older sister was in court.

Mhaga said there were preliminary charges based on NPA prosecutors having seen the video.

“They will be facing several counts of rape, sexual assault, engaging sexual services of a minor for a reward, using a minor to create child pornography, committing a sexual act in the presence of a minor and committing a sexual act in the presence of an adult,” he said.

“They will also be facing charges that relate to the contravention of the Films and Publications Act, which is creating, possession (of) and distributing child porn.”

The courtroom was packed ahead of the bail hearing, but was cleared when proceedings started. – Sapa



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