Reitumetse Makwea

By Reitumetse Makwea

Journalist


Paul Kennedy’s co-accused facing 735 charges of rape, human trafficking

Attempted murder charges were added after one of his alleged victims tested positive for HIV.


The SA justice system continues to fail victims of abuse, according to activists, as the case against the late senior advocate and former acting judge Paul Kennedy’s co-accused is postponed yet again to 23 May with bail extended.

The 53-year-old alleged child sex offender, who cannot be named until he has pleaded, appeared in the High Court in Johannesburg on Monday, where attempted murder charges were added after one of his alleged victims tested positive for HIV. This had prompted a test on Kennedy and his co-accused on 1 February.

Faced with more than 735 charges of raping an unspecified number of young boys, human trafficking, unlawful possession, creation and importing and/ or exporting, and distribution of child pornography, the co-accused allegedly committed these crimes while out on bail for another case on similar charges in Alexandra, which led to his arrest in July last year.

ALSO READ: Rape, sex traffic case against Paul Kennedy’s co-accused ongoing

Activist against child abuse Motshidisi Mabatle said the law continued to fail many victims of abuse, especially by releasing an alleged repeat sex offender on bail when there was proof of “significant” risk in doing so.

The co-accused was charged with public indecency last year and in August 2018, when he allegedly forced an 11-year-old boy to touch his penis four times before the victim got away, according to the National Prosecuting Authority.

However, according to senior researcher at the South African SDG Hub’s Dr Dominique Mystris, usually bail proceedings depended more on a person being a flight risk.

“The main thing is that the person will not be a flight risk and not necessarily that the person won’t reoffend,” she said.

Women & Men Against Child Abuse advocacy manager Ngaa Morombedzi said the matter regarding Kennedy’s co-accused has been frustrating and negatively reflected upon SA’s Justice system.

“We pinpoint the granting of bail as a significant failure on the part of the court because it can be directly linked to the accused’s continued predatory behavior towards children, which has led to the current case before the high court,” she said.

“If we are to communicate that the justice system is there to serve victims of heinous crimes, it must be observed as such.”

Although the final indictment painted a picture of a well-organised child sex ring that targeted minors – grooming them and then selling them to be raped, it also listed four victims between the ages of 15 and 16.

It also revealed that the victims were allegedly targeted through social media, then trafficked to Gauteng, where they were sexually groomed before being sold to clients.

Without revealing the results, state prosecutor Valencia Dube said the state charged both accused with attempted murder, after receiving the HIV tests and more charges were added as more victims came forward, including charges from Mossel Bay and Wynberg courts.

The charges against Kennedy were withdrawn in the High Court in Johannesburg following his suicide in February.

– reitumetsem@citizen.co.za

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