The six family members who are facing 53 counts of rape and child pornography were “revolting bullies” who were “grasping at straws” in an attempt to have all charges for their alleged heinous crimes against them dropped.
A grandfather, his wife, their children and their spouses had appeared before the Pretoria North Magistrate’s Court yesterday after they were arrested in the north of Pretoria in December 2010 for allegedly raping, grooming and manufacturing child pornography content of their stepchildren, children and grandchildren.
The children, aged between four and 13 at the time, were allegedly sexually violated and recorded since 2005. Two of the children were in the care of their then 58-year-old grandfather. But the defence team tried to make an argument that the testimony heard by one of the youngest boys was inconsistent and likely to be untruthful, when Teddy Bear Clinic’s forensic social worker, Dr She had Omar, was cross-examined. Omar had completed her assessment report on the boy in May 2013.
“Is it possible for children to lie?” asked defence lawyer Liz de Oliveira-Serrão.
“It is possible, they make false allegations. But looking at global literature, younger children are more resistant to false allegations of sexual abuse than older children. Looking at his age, he didn’t fall in line with children who are more prone to false allegations,” Omar explained. While de Oliveira-Serrão and the defence team tried to prove the child’s inconsistent testimony could not stand, prosecutor Cornelia Harmzen asked: “If a child is not fit to be a witness, can that change?
“We have had children not fit to stand but after therapy, they feel better to speak about the accused,” Omar said. Harmzen closed the case for the state yesterday, while the defence indicated they would be bringing an application of section 174 of the Criminal Procedures Act to dismiss some or all of the charges when the matter returns to court on March 5.
But Women and Men Against Child Abuse director Miranda Friedman said the accused family were using intimidation and bullying tactics against the public and the media, after they had made threats to the organisation and The Citizen shortly after the proceedings. “They have badgered us, questioned our reasons for being here, and have been a nasty bunch of people. If they are this scary to us, a group of brave activists, then this shows their character.
“They have no shame of questioning and harassing media and photographers. The whole group of them are a bunch of revolting bullies.”