MPs approve sexual offences amendment

2012-06-05 14:38
Cape Town - MPs on Tuesday approved an amendment to the Sexual Offences Act as an urgent interim measure to prevent certain crimes becoming impossible to prosecute in the Western Cape.

The amendment, which was passed by the National Assembly last week, explicitly states that courts have the discretion to impose sentences for some 29 offences for which none are prescribed in the 2007 Act.

"It states the clear intention to create a crime and if the penalty is not prescribed, it is left to the discretion of the court," said state law advisor Henk du Preez.

This omission in the Act was exposed by the Western Cape High Court in May.

It upheld a judgment by the Riversdale Regional Court dismissing sexual assault charges against Arnold Prins on the grounds that lawmakers had failed to specify penalties for those offences.

‘Stop-gap’ bill

Courts in KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State have taken a different interpretation of the Act's silence, and the dilemma therefore exists only in the Western Cape.

Lawrence Basset, the chief director for legislative drafting at the department of justice, told MPs the "stop-gap" bill was crucial to prevent sex offenders going free in the province in the wake of last month's judgment.

But he said the department would push ahead with a Supreme Court of Appeal challenge to the judgment because, if it were to stand, it would also raise the spectre of rendering null earlier convictions for those crimes.

"The [amendment] will not be retroactive, so this is why the SCA needs to give us guidance in this instance."

The appeal is set to be heard on June 12 and 13.

He added: "Everybody is ad idem that we need to have a stop-gap."

Another amendment

Basset said regardless of the outcome of the appeal, the department of justice intended to prescribe maximum sentences for the crimes in question but needed a year to do so in another amendment.

"Already in the department, we have started working on that," he said.

But MPs objected to this time frame, with the ANC's Buoang Mashile complaining that "we've had a lot of bad legislation from this department".

Instead the select committee on security and constitutional development gave the department six months to return with a new amendment bill.

The current amendment now has to be adopted by the National Council of Provinces.
- SAPA
Read more on:    legislation  |  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
11 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!
This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!
This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is so much going on around you and inside your head. You may want to take your ideas to the next level. Romance may be...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.