Paedophile's appeal shatters family
Cape Town - A couple from Paarl are "shattered" that the man who sexually abused their 10-year-old boy three years ago has had his five-year jail sentence overturned.
A full bench of the Western Cape High Court set aside the sentence on Tuesday and ordered that retired accountant and school teacher Ian Appleton, 74, instead be sentenced to correctional supervision involving a short period of imprisonment. It ruled that he then be released into house arrest.
The boy's mother, who cannot be named, told the Cape Times newspaper that the justice system had failed her son. She said only a life sentence would have satisfied her.
“The system lost the fact that a young child had been raped, not once, but many times," she said.
"I’m completely shattered. I’m a very sad woman today. It is a crying shame. What message is this sending to mothers of children who have been raped?
“They lost sight of the crime. It is also sad to see how money can influence the system. He is wealthy and can hire the best lawyers.”
The boy’s father said that, as parents, their biggest regret had been not putting their son on the witness stand.
“We made the wrong decision. He’s a strong little kid. Had he testified, things might have turned out differently.”
Judges Daniel Dlodlo and Vincent Saldanha referred the case back to the Paarl Regional Court, for Magistrate Norma Smile to decide the period of imprisonment and the duration of Appleton's house arrest.
Appleton was found guilty of performing oral sex on the boy in 2008. He was convicted last month of rape under the new Children's Act.
At his trial, it emerged that Appleton had developed a long-standing close friendship with the boy's parents, who gave him unlimited access to the child.
The judges said the magistrate had considered correctional supervision inappropriate, due to the seriousness of the offence.
They said Appleton was currently receiving rehabilitative therapy for paedophilia, and had undertaken to continue with the treatment at his own expense.
This would ensure Appleton was properly managed, monitored and rehabilitated, to enable him to assume accountability and responsibility for his condition, the judges said.
They said State advocate Mornay Julius, in opposing the appeal, had referred to the scourge of sexual abuse of children, and the impunity with which it happened "almost on a daily basis".
The judges said correctional supervision should not be regarded as a "light sentence", as it served the specific purpose of rehabilitation.
If the offender failed to strictly comply with the restrictive conditions applicable to correctional supervision, the offender would be brought back to court to be sentenced afresh.