Cape Town rape sentence set aside

2012-05-30 08:31

Cape Town - A man convicted of raping, drugging and intimidating a girl had his conviction and sentencing set aside because a magistrate had not followed proper procedure in taking the girl's oath, it was reported on Wednesday.

A full bench of Western Cape High Court judges ruled on Tuesday that Lance Bessick's conviction and sentencing in the Atlantis Regional Court in July 2009 was invalid, the Cape Times reported.

Bessick was found guilty largely based on the girl's testimony, who was 15-years-old when she testified. But she had indicated that she did not understand the meaning of an oath or affirmation.

Judge Robert Henney, in his judgment, said the unnamed magistrate had failed to explain the meaning of the oath and had then skipped to the next step, which was to hold an informal investigation into whether she knew the difference between a lie and the truth.

Henney said it was "not a mere non-compliance with a technicality", but a process required by law to ensure a reliable version of events was placed before the court.

"The impact of improper conviction and subsequent incarceration is much greater for the accused."

  • Peter-Peter - 2012-05-30 08:36

    Yip, that's what happens when incompetent people are put in places of high order with no/hardly any skills....stuff ups!

      Isikhulu - 2012-05-30 09:15

      Wow, the actual rape act is not questioned; but the paperwork / process is? Now Lance Bessick's conviction and sentencing is set aside? This victory for him and his lawyer must be priceless. Give his lawyer a Bells and Lance a case of Bells. How proud both of you must be to f..k the system. How hard up must one be to fight for this "injustice"?

      Johan - 2012-05-30 09:24

      So where are the protesters against "the painting" now?

      Lyndatjie - 2012-05-30 13:42

      In other words this poor girl got raped twice. Once by that animal and the second time by the system....

  • Curry - 2012-05-30 08:41

    No doubt his lawyer(s) are gonna need more office space as all the new work comes rolling in...

  • Chris - 2012-05-30 08:47

    I suggest her father gets hold of the guy with some friends. They get together for a few drinks. Burn his "pride" off with some acid, drop him off in the veld.

      djmain1 - 2012-05-30 09:34

      Yep - agree. This is crying out for some community justice.

      bianca.k.sims - 2012-05-30 17:11

      Absolutely!!! If the law isnt on your side... Hell take some action. Its not like you will be sentenced or anything...I say, the father should quietly dispose of the piece of dirt that did that to his daughter!!!!

  • stefaans.blaauw - 2012-05-30 08:50

    What a slap in the face for the justice system. His neglegence, saved a criminal. Great!!! viva for the ANC and its officials. Any system is just as good as the people running it. No need to say more??

      Bongani - 2012-05-30 09:36

      why are you saying VIVA to the ANC, the case was cape town and the judge was in cape town, how can this be ANC issue? This was just a technical error which happens everywhere. The Revonia 4 were let free because of a technical error and this was during the National party time, this is one of the many examples.

  • Nigel - 2012-05-30 08:50

    Our Justice system - hard at work to make sure criminals walk.

  • Marion - 2012-05-30 08:53

    FFS. Bet you this magistrate keeps his/her job and benefits. They should give out checklists to cops, magistrates etc., to ensure that they can follow the right steps when performing their duties. e.g. Stand-check, Be seated-check, look at docket-check, do not fall asleep-check.

  • Shellerjc - 2012-05-30 08:53

    WTF! You're kidding me! So does this mean he will be "let-off" & she will have to live with the mental scars for the rest of her life? AS a rape victim myself - this is unacceptable.

      Snoopy - 2012-05-30 10:23

      Same thing happened to me. I identified him, produced DNA Evidance, and what did the SAPS do, they lost my docket.. Everything. And therefore my case was thrown out of court, and the F@cker walked Free! I'm not free, I will never be free again. So much to deal with.. Kill the Judge and the Rapist.

  • Henry - 2012-05-30 08:58

    In this "new" South Africa,the law seems to protect scum half the time :(

  • Faizie - 2012-05-30 08:58

    Name & Shame the magistrate, cnt be the first or last time he acted as a dumb ass

  • eyesears.handsfeet - 2012-05-30 09:01

    And so the excuses just becomes more and more, just in another form. Not suprising at all. Just a damn shame if the girl was telling the truth.

  • Johnathan - 2012-05-30 09:04

    So procedure is more important than actual justice ???

  • Ted - 2012-05-30 09:07

    Nooooooo! I promise to say the *h*t and nothing but the ****! A promise changes the fact? If the judge is convinced the rape happened, surely that's the crime to make a decision on. Not swearing to a bible or Koran. Who doesn't lie anyway?

      Marion - 2012-05-30 09:32

      @Ted - I've often wondered what would happen if, say, an atheist said that they didn't consider the oath binding on their conscience.

      Gungets - 2012-05-30 10:34

      Then they do not say an oath, they say an affirmation, basically the same thing, except that instead of "so help me god" they say "I consider what I say to be binding on my concience". It's all the same, except with the oath you rely on someone else to punish you for lying, the affirmation you are expected to punish yourself.

  • Marco - 2012-05-30 09:08

    another day in paradise

  • Rob - 2012-05-30 09:10

    What logic can there be in such an outcome, let alone justice. So the magistrate screwed up, that definitely needs dealing with. But more to the point why is it not possible to repeat the process with a competent magistrate and hand out a prison term. Why must such a technicality become a trick 'get out of jail free card'. Must be a legal process inadequacy here I think?

  • Gungets - 2012-05-30 09:16

    I assume that the case can be retried - the man has not been found innocent, the sentence has merely been set aside from this case. Whether the poor girl (child) has the strength to go through this again is another thing. It makes you sick to think it, but if the magistrate is this incompetent at the easy stuff, how useless are they with the difficult stuff, like evaluating evidence and listening properly to testimony.

  • sharon.truebodyvice - 2012-05-30 09:17


  • linda.stroebel - 2012-05-30 09:21

    What the ANC should be focussing on...

  • louis.langenhoven - 2012-05-30 09:28

    we have become the servants of our own writings. Happens all the time in "justice". The decision made previously in a similiar case is the precedent for next cases- don't think just use someone elses example

  • Mtk.the.poet - 2012-05-30 09:35

    Ds is lies, no crime in CPT, cape is lyk europe, no drugs, no murdere no rape! Only blck dominated regions has dat

      Nigel - 2012-05-30 09:59

      Why don't you go and do something you're good at like sit under a tree and smoke some Ganja? You're obviously just another little racist idiot, part of the problem instead of being part of the solution. What a sick mind you have to politicize the plight of a rape victim. Are you a Satanist by any chance.

      Rob - 2012-05-30 11:02

      Mtk: Your comment is an example of exactly what civilised people of any colour have a problem with. Try contemplating your navel before your next comment.

  • matches.matthews - 2012-05-30 09:41

    A case of negligence should be opened against this magistrate. The loop hole in “law” when any procedure is not properly followed should be close, and the way to do this is to open a case of negligence against the person who did not follow procedure. This also applies to police members who mess up an arrest by ignoring to follow right procedure. Hopefully this will rid the country of incompetent law enforcers, who are there to protect the criminal friends.

  • danny.levin.351 - 2012-05-30 09:45

    One more sad example of what happens when incompetent people are employed. He must be fired ASAP. I hope the family sues his @ss so that he has to pay them for the rest of his life. Publish his name, he must be named and shamed.

  • Gavin - 2012-05-30 09:46

    I recall another technicality that allowed zuma to take office, shaik was found guilty of paying him a bribe, but he was never prosecuted for accepting a bribe - gotta love SA law. this is a disgrace, now a rapist will walk free, the should've branded him when he started his sentence in the first place, that way people would know what kind a germ he is.

      Shellerjc - 2012-05-30 10:15

      I got this vision of The Scarlet Letter after reading your comment. Agreed - LOL thanks

  • raymond.kok3 - 2012-05-30 09:51

    but did he actually rape her and was the dna evidence led in the case, if so does it really matter that the child understand that what she would testify will be the truth even so at 15 its still statutory rape because she was under age .Isikulu is correct that the the actual rape is completely ignored ,ans by the way where are the auntys with their green and black cloacks or was there no news coverage to score political points hmm, Lynn brown , Helen ,Patricia anybody, anybody going ,going gone sorry little girl the system just did it to you again

  • mart.botha - 2012-05-30 09:51

    The Law is an ASS ! A Community Representation, with the assistance of a retired Judge or two, must make a decision after considering all the evidence presented in this case. If they decide that the alleged rapist is guilty or not....then 'carry on!'.

  • edwardsch - 2012-05-30 09:52

    Throw the book at this magistrate. Incompetence at that level is unacceptable. As for the perpetrator, stay away from my kids. You won't see the inside of a court if you touch one of them. The only thing you will see is the inside of a wooden box that has been built to fit you!!!!!

      Stormkaap - 2012-05-30 10:31

      I say fire the idiot

  • Shellerjc - 2012-05-30 10:06

    oooo Lookie - My comment got a thumbs down - Now Why would you do that? Do you feel guilty about something????

  • Margaux - 2012-05-30 10:06

    just gotta love s.a. lets focus on the spear painting as its the most important thing!!! government has to get its act together... i know kangaroo courts aint the way to go but u cant blame the people. if i find someone breaking into my place or trying to rape somebody he will get the beating of his life. crime is not important but filling your pockets with taxpayers money is. go figure.

  • Spitsa1 - 2012-05-30 10:08

    This is disgusting that this pig gets away with, why does the ANC not march for this,but no they march for a stupid painting, get your priorities right, and shows you when you put people in power who are stupid.

  • ian.loubser.3 - 2012-05-30 10:09

    where is Dexter when you need him?

  • Schmee - 2012-05-30 10:44

    Only 43 comments here whereas the "ANC to withdraw Spear case already has 59 and it's only been up since 10:13. No wonder this magistrate gets away with his/her incompetence.

  • Mbali - 2012-05-30 10:46

    Did rape take place in cpt? Do they not mean ec

      Rob - 2012-05-30 11:07

      If you are going to look like an idiot try to do a better job of it! Your comment implies that you believe that the physical location influenced either the crime or the justice system. You may well be answer for me: 1. Which part of SA has the highest reported rape incidence per capita? 2. Which part of SA has the most effective justice administration? Answer those two questions and your next comment may be useful.

      Mbali - 2012-05-30 12:24

      @ not-so-clever criticallyhonest: the words that are always on your mind are\\ stupid, idiot, narrow-minded, less educated\\ and the list is endless. With the reply you have just written is conforming that you're not far from those useless words you always utter. Surely you should have picked up that I was referring to the fact that your poor little god zille always paints cpt to be some kind of heaven and not the utter rubbish you're referring to. Don't be stupid goat!!!

      Rob - 2012-05-30 12:52

      Mbali: Your comprehension capability seems not to be a credit to your my comment again, think about it, maybe you will get my point. Then come back with facts not hot-air

      Mbali - 2012-05-30 17:34

      Rob go argue with your fellow goats

  • Siegeknives - 2012-05-30 11:43

    And how exactly does Judge Henly believe it effects the victim of this crime? Knowing her rapist is free... post traumatic stress can cripple a human being for the rest of their live's. To live in fear and paranoia is a horrible state of being. If the guy is guilty, lock him up!

  • gregory.jurgens - 2012-05-30 12:04

    Unnamed magistrate. To name him would obviously be racist.

      Mbali - 2012-05-30 12:19

      Blah blah blah....don't you get tired of whining goaty?

  • Pieter - 2012-05-30 13:00

    What's the chances of these 'mistakes' happening on purpose, so to avoid a lengthy trial or protect the accused ???

  • Bruce - 2012-05-30 13:54

    Lock up the magistrate! I hope some clever laywer can find some way of getting justice for this poor girl!

  • bianca.k.sims - 2012-05-30 17:16

    Not only is the justice system is made up of criminals running it but our own president was accused of rape and he runs our country. STOP voting ANC!!!!!

  • billidp - 2012-05-31 08:10

    EISH! Raped by a so-called man and then raped again by Judicial incompetence! The mind boggles!

  • gailcarolynhayes - 2012-05-31 11:48

    Yip - this guy was acting in the same way as our President and needless to say gets away with it. We should change the name of our Natinal Soccer Team to Spears - we might actually win some matches through sheer intimidation! The law is an ass sometimes.

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