ConCourt: Parts of child sex act unconstitutional

2013-10-03 14:33
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Video

ConCourt hears child sex law case

2013-05-31 08:14

The Constitutional Court heard argument on Thursday on an application to confirm an order that consensual sexual conduct by children between 12 and 16 should not be a criminal offence. Watch.WATCH

Bloemfontein - The criminalisation of consensual sexual conduct between consenting adolescents is unconstitutional, the Constitutional Court has ruled.

The court confirmed a lower court's order that sections 15 and 16 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, which relate to sexual offences, were unconstitutional.

The unanimous judgment, written by Judge Sisi Khampepe, was published on the court's website on Thursday.

The sections infringed on the rights of adolescents, aged between 12 and 16, to dignity and privacy, and further violated the best interest principle contained in section 28(2) of the Constitution.

Developmentally normal conduct

Relying on expert evidence, the court concluded that the impugned provisions criminalised developmentally normative conduct for adolescents and adversely affected the very children the act sought to protect.

The court said the effects of the impugned provisions were found not to be rationally related to the State's purpose of protecting children.

"We must be careful, however, to ensure that, in attempting to guide and protect children, our interventions do not expose them to harsh circumstances which can only have adverse effects on their development,” said Khampepe.

She said the matter was not about whether children should or should not engage in sexual conduct, nor was it about whether Parliament should set a minimum age for consensual sexual conduct.

Khampepe said the court was concerned with a far narrower issue - whether it was constitutionally permissible for children to be subject to criminal sanctions to deter early sexual intimacy and combat the risks associated therewith.

Non-consensual sexual conduct

The judgment declared invalid provisions of the act that criminalised consensual sexual conduct between adolescents. The criminal prohibitions against non-consensual sexual conduct with children of any age remained in place.

Criminal restrictions against sexual activity between adults and older children on the one hand, and adolescents on the other, also remained.

The judgment suspended the declaration of invalidity for 18 months to allow Parliament to amend the provisions.

Khampepe ordered a moratorium on all investigations, arrests, prosecutions and criminal and ancillary proceedings (regarding adolescents) in relation to sections 15 and 16 of the act.

This remains until Parliament has remedied the defects identified.

Read more on:    child abuse
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
37 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The most important thing today is to do the necessary ground work as tedious and monotonous as it may seem to help you build a...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.