Teen rapist in bid to stay off sex offenders register


iol news pic justice-scale and gavel may 23

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Cape Town - A young Western Cape rapist is heading to the Constitutional Court in a desperate bid to stay off the national register for sexual offenders.

The rapist, who was a 14-year-old minor when he raped three boys, has already succeeded in his Western Cape High Court appeal to have the section of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, authorising his name to be entered in the national register for sexual offenders, declared unconstitutional.

In August, Judges Robert Henney, Burton Fourie and Elize Steyn declared section 50(2) of the Sexual Offences Act invalid and inconsistent with the constitution, as it did not allow courts to inquire and decide after affording an accused the opportunity to make representations on whethertheir particulars should be included in this national register. The rapist wants the Western Cape High Court order confirmed by the Constitutional Court.

The judges ordered that their order not be retrospective, and its effect suspended for 18 months to allow Parliament to amend section 50(2) of the Sexual Offences Act.

In the interim, the judges ordered that sex offenders be allowed to make representations on whether their names should be entered into the register.

The teenage rapist was sentenced to a five-year compulsory residency at the Eureka Child and Youth Care Centre in Rawsonville, after being convicted of the three rapes in August last year.

He was also charged and convicted of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm for stabbing a 12-year-old girl with a knife. For the assault, he was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, suspended for three years on condition he was not convicted of assault during that period.

Director of the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Child Law, Professor Ann Skelton, who represented the teenager at the High Court hearing, had argued that section 50(2) of the Sexual Offences Act violated a number of her client’s rights, and undermined the objectives of the register.

Skelton said the government had no evidence suggesting that children committing sexual offences against their peers later became adult sex offenders preying on children.

National Director of Public Prosecutions Mxolisi Nxasana and Justice Minister Jeff Radebe have indicated they will abide by the Constitutional Court’s decision.

The rapist’s Legal Aid counsel, Morné Calitz, described the provisions of the Sexual Offences Act as “over-broad” and said the inroads it made were “substantially disproportionate to the purpose it serves”.

 

The provisions of the act are an affront to the right to a fair hearing in terms of the constitution, which guarantees the right to access to courts to have disputes resolved by application of law, in a fair public hearing, he argued.

Sex offenders listed in the register are barred from being employed to work with a child under any circumstances; having authority, supervision or care of a child; access to a child or places where children are present or congregate and becoming a foster or adoptive parent and temporary or safe caregiver.

The matter will be heard in February.

loyiso.sidimba@inl.co.za

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