Barbie sentencing continues

2010-02-22 21:01

Pretoria - The prosecution has asked for the direct long-term imprisonment of former advocate Cézanne Visser on 11 charges of sexually molesting young girls and women.

State prosecutor Andre Fourie argued in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that Visser should be sentenced to between 15 and 20 years' imprisonment, although he left it to the court to decide how much of the sentence should be suspended.

Acting Judge Chris Eksteen in October last year convicted Visser on 11 charges of defrauding a children's home, soliciting a 15-year-old girl to commit indecent acts, indecently assaulting girls aged 11 and 14, indecently assaulting two young adult women, being a beneficiary to the indecent assault of another young woman and the manufacturing and possession of child pornography.

He will sentence Visser on Wednesday.

Visser's senior advocate, Johan Engelbrecht, argued that she was a battered woman who had fallen prey to a sexual sadist, Dirk Prinsloo, was not a paedophile or a child molester and should be sentenced to correctional supervision.

'A sitting duck'

Engelbrecht stressed psychological evidence that Visser came from a dysfunctional background, suffered from depression, had low self-esteem and was a "sitting duck" for the narcissistic Prinsloo, who "zoomed in" on her and then took over her life.

Visser was a sexually naive and prudish virgin when she met Prinsloo, who appeared on the horizon "like a knight on a white horse, that was actually a black horse", and then drew Visser into his perverse sex life.

Engelbrecht said Visser was not alone as several other women had fallen for Prinsloo's "sick joke". Like Visser, they too were transformed with piercings, tattoos and breasts so large that it endangered their health.

"We as men question why she walked into the relationship with open eyes and why she could not get out of it, but the expert evidence is that such a woman is powerless and is an object that is controlled and dominated.

"How much punishment has she not already had in the clutches of that Prinsloo?"

Appropriate punishment

He said Visser was, according to two psychological reports, not inherently evil and had gained nothing from the crimes, except to please Prinsloo.

Engelbrecht argued that the community interest was "secondary" because Visser would never again commit such crimes and did not need rehabilitation, but counselling.

"I know the world out there screams lock up people who molest children and throw away the key. But that call negates the basic principle of punishment, namely individualised punishment.

"The courts are not there to take revenge. Courts should not sink to the level of the criminal. Punishment should be tempered with compassion," he said.

Engelbrecht suggested a totally suspended sentence, linked to 36 months correctional supervision, community service and counselling at Visser's own cost as suitable punishment.

Victims

Fourie, however, stressed the seriousness of the crimes and the devastating effect it had on the victims.

He said the defence had made much of Prinsloo's influence over Visser, but the court should not lose sight of Visser's own initiating role in the crimes.

He conceded that Visser did not have perverse sexual tendencies, but said she had also benefited from the crimes, which she committed to satisfy Prinsloo.

In the process, three young women and three children were used as instruments, regardless of the traumatic effect it had on them. Visser had no mercy for them.

Fourie argued that just as Visser was portrayed as a vulnerable victim to Prinsloo, the children's home children who fell victim to her and Prinsloo had also been vulnerable and "sitting ducks" for abuse.

One of the aggravating factors was according to Fourie the fact that Visser and Prinsloo got away with what they did for 15 months before they were caught.

Referring to the other women in Prinsloo's life, Fourie said none of them had committed any crimes.

Visser, dressed in black from head to toe, appeared calmer during her court appearance after the trial was previously delayed because she had a breakdown.

- SAPA

Read more on:    cezanne visser
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