Cape Town - The defence lawyer of an Atlantis woman charged with the trafficking of her daughter says charges against his client should be dropped because the alleged exploitation happened too long ago.
Arthur Olsen, who represents the 47-year-old mother, submitted his argument in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
The woman is furthur charged with living from the earnings of the sexual exploitation of her 14-year-old child and benefiting from the services of a child.
State prosecutor Fiona Cloete had earlier told the Court that the teenager was unlawfully and intentionally selected from her home and traded for sex to unknown men in a local shebeen in Atlantis and along the N7 near Dunoon between 2011 and 2012.
Cloete said the teenager’s mother, who cannot be identified to protect the child’s identity, received money from different men in exchange for having sex with the girl.
She said the woman was appearing with three others who were also linked to charges of child trafficking.
But Olsen said the alleged exploitation occurred in 2011 and 2012. As a result, the girl’s version could be problematic in terms of her remembering dates and times.
“If the prosecution is faced with contradictory evidence, then it is a general duty on them to probe those contradictions in order to make sure that no false evidence is led and furthermore, although not always realised, the prosecution has an obligation to ensure that an accused’s right to fair trial is protected,” he said.
Upholding this obligation would mean that the prosecutor would have to formulate the charges and set additional days for trial.
The girl’s mother, who has been in custody since 2012, occasionally looked down as her lawyer made his case.
“The longer the period, the greater the prejudice to the accused,” he said.
The State later asked that the first part of testimony by the doctor who initially examined the girl be made in camera. Magistrate Mbuso Msingaphantsi granted the ap-plication before asking for the court room to be cleared.
The girl has been put in a place of safety.
The teenager’s mother will remain in custody and the three other accused are out on bail. Charges against a man who is the teenager’s relative were dropped earlier in the week because there was lack of evidence in terms of his involvement.
The case was postponed to June 27.