As we evolve in culture and consciousness so does our Law. The facts surrounding this declaration of unconstitutionality are stark reminders of the cruel reality that for some unknown reason there are deviant adults who prey sexually on children and in doing so cause them irreparable harm.
The impetus behind this case being heard by Acting Judge Clare Hartford at the Johannesburg High Court was a string of criminal complaints against billionaire Sidney Frankel for allegedly sexually molesting at least 8 children over 20 years ago.
Section 18 of the Criminal Procedure Act provides for a time period of 20 years within which certain crimes have to be prosecuted, failing which the right to institute a prosecution will lapse. The crimes which can be prosecuted without a time bar are those considered to be of a very serious nature such as murder, aggravated robbery, kidnapping, child stealing, treason, rape, and genocide amongst others.
Let’s be grateful that severely harming children, as well as adults, through sexually assaulting them has now been added to that list and let’s hope that our Courts continue to advance our law in order to protect those who were unable to protect themselves as they were too young and ashamed to speak out about what had happened to them.
The down side is that an enormous amount of funding was necessary for such a task, no doubt running into tens of millions of Rands making Justice quite an expensive commodity which most people cannot afford at the best of times.