Women opt for dispute resolution to settle case
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Durban - Twenty years after they were allegedly indecently assaulted, two KwaZulu-Natal women are hoping to put the matter to rest this week.
On Monday, the alleged perpetrator of the crimes, a 58-year-old former deputy school principal from Durban, appeared briefly in the Durban Regional Court where the matter was referred to an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) meeting.
According to the charge sheet, the man, who cannot be named because he has not pleaded, is facing a charge of rape and indecent assault of one of the victims related to incidents between 1991 and 1993.
He is also facing another count of indecent assault, in respect of the other victim, for an incident at the Suncoast Beach in 1995. When the alleged acts occurred both victims were minors. Their ages at the time have not been made public.
The ADR process is unique in that the victims and perpetrator choose to meet and come to an agreement rather than have the case set down for a trial.
As part of the mediation process the victims get an opportunity to talk about what effect the alleged crime had on their lives and the accused has the opportunity to apologise.
Marc Hardwick, a private child abuse investigator who is assisting the women, said the ADR process was “new” and not often used in child abuse cases.
“In this case, it has been a long time since the offence and it would have been very difficult on both parties to have a trial. It is a process that can be appropriate in cases with adult survivors of child abuse, especially when they want closure but do not want it to go to trial.”
Hardwick said he could not divulge the details of the meeting, which took place on Monday, due to a confidentiality agreement.
The case was adjourned to Wednesday for the outcome of the ADR meeting.
If the process is not successful, the man will go on trial.