Barbie 'should not' go to jail

2010-02-08 21:42

Pretoria - Convicted sex offender Cézanne Visser, also known as "advocate Barbie", should not face jail time for her crimes, forensic criminologist Eon Sonnekus told the High Court in Pretoria on Monday.

In mitigation of sentence, Sonnekus recommended the appropriate punishment should be a suspended sentence or rigorous correctional supervision and rehabilitation.

"The offender has shown remorse over the incidences and the traumatic effect it has had on the victims. The sincere remorse of the offender to the victims is indicative of the rehabilitation that is already underway," he said.

Sonnekus based his recommendations on Visser's testimony during the trial and subsequent consultations with her, her family and work colleagues.

Visser was also a first-time offender with no previous convictions.

Her blonde hair and surgically-enlarged breasts led to her being given the nickname "advocate Barbie".

Other factors in mitigation included Visser's severe and deteriorating depression before and during the sexual offences. 

Resist manipulation

This depression had also contributed to her inability to resist the manipulation of the alleged instigator of the crimes, her former boyfriend Dirk Prinsloo.

He said Visser had entered into a relationship with Prinsloo while in an already emotionally unbalanced frame of mind. This contributed to her inability to resist criminal involvement with a man 16 years her senior.

Sonnekus told the court Visser's rehabilitation would be hampered if she was sent to prison and could no longer work.

Proceedings were adjourned for cross examination on Monday, but not before Acting Judge Chris Eksteen posed his own question to Sonnekus regarding Visser's "remorse".

"Have you seen anything like that, that she (Visser) has actually said to the victims that she is sorry?"

Sonnekus said he had not, but after a quick glance in the direction of Visser and her legal team, added that she still might, it being his expert opinion.

Throughout the day-long proceedings, Visser sat upright in stony silence, barely moving an inch.

Visser was convicted in October of 11 of 14 sex-related charges. These included soliciting a 15 year old to perform indecent acts, indecently assaulting 11 year old and 14 year old girls and the possession and manufacture of child pornography.

Prinsloo was sentenced to 13 years in prison by a Belarus court last week for theft, assault and attempted bank robbery. He also faces sex-related charges in South Africa.