NPA slams 'shocking' suspended sentence for man guilty of 2 130 child sex offences

2017-06-22 18:58
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Cape Town - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is to appeal a lower court's judgment that saw a convicted child sex offender in the Western Cape escape jail time because of "substantial and compelling circumstances".

In 2015, Andre Petrus Retief pleaded guilty to the charges in the Parow Regional Court.

He was sentenced to eight years in jail, wholly suspended for five years, on condition that he was not again found guilty of contravening certain sections of the Films and Publications Act.

"Among his victims were a six-year-old, eight-year-old and a nine-year-old," said NPA Western Cape spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila on Thursday.

"These victims were sexually assaulted whilst they were asleep, rendering them even more vulnerable for sexual exploitation."

Retief was found in possession of a vast number of child abuse images he had collected over 10 years.

He first collected these images, on behalf of a pornographer, of children he had access to.

"He used a cellphone, a video camera and camera to create the child abuse material. He not only abused children of his friends and neighbours, he also video recorded school girls in supermarkets as well," said Ntabazalila.

The State did not believe there were any circumstances that justified a deviation from the prescribed minimum sentence of 10 years for the production of child pornography.

In its court papers, it said the regional magistrate had accepted the offences were committed because of Retief’s "addiction".

"This is an aggravating factor. It shows the possibility or likelihood of the further commission of such offences in the future if there is no sentence ensuring real intervention."

The court had failed to deal with why he breached the trust between himself and his victims.

It submitted he had not once sought help for his "problem" in the decade leading up to his arrest.

"The therapy he sought is primarily focused on himself and does not amount to genuine contrition from an appreciation and acknowledgement of the extent of the crimes that he has committed."

The State believed he would have kept quiet about his activities had he not been caught out by his friends.

More emphasis should have been placed on the interests of the community and the seriousness of the offences.

Ntabazalila said the sentence was "shockingly inappropriate and light".

"The sentence must be replaced with one of direct imprisonment or direct imprisonment which is partially suspended."

The appeal will be heard in the Western Cape High Court on Friday.

Read more on:    npa  |  cape town  |  child abuse

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