‘Too young to testify’: Rape case of 2yo alleged victim is shelved

‘Too young to testify’: Rape case of 2yo alleged victim is shelved
A child rape case in South Africa was dropped after a court ruled that the alleged victim, 2, was too young to testify, her mother said. The case was reportedly reopened Friday after the girl’s parents complained to police.

"The perpetrator [creche employee] was arrested. We have a case number, and my daughter's forensic examination confirmed that she was raped,” the mother told News24 in an email. “The prosecutor said they could not pursue the conviction due to lack of evidence and my daughter was deemed too young. My daughter has outstanding language ability [and] was able to identify the perpetrator and provide details of what happened."

In a newsletter, the principal of the creche told parents that an employee, who had been arrested, would be returning to work in the near future – without specifying exactly why they had been taken into police custody in the first place. RT.com has contacted authorities in Cape Town for confirmation of the details in this story and will update as and when more information is provided.

"A 38-year-old was arrested and his first appearance was [on December 7, 2017]," explained Police spokesperson FC Van Wyk. "On [April 17, 2018], the case was provisionally withdrawn by the Wynberg court. Consultation was done with parent and child on [February 13, 2018], by the prosecutor, and [it was] explained that the child is too young.”

"[The] case will be placed back on the court roll as soon as [the] child is ready and done with her forensic social worker assessment," Van Wyk added.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) reportedly withdrew the case as the “investigation is not complete.” Western Cape NPA spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila told News24 that, after an initial consultation, the child was found to be unable to testify. "We also asked for a forensic social worker's report since the outset, which would obviously assist us [in] dealing with the case and the matter, but we have not received it."

"We were also hoping that the school would be able to access video footage (even though we do not have an exact date of the incident), but the video footage for that time period has been 'over-written.'" The NPA will re-examine the child in October.

"Apart from the child's version and a J88 which shows old injuries, we have no other evidence and at this stage, we will not be able to secure a conviction," Ntabazalila said.

J88 forms record all forensic evidence taken and processed in examinations following an alleged rape. The child's parents removed her from the school and opted for a police rather than a school investigation reports news 24.

"The school confirmed to social workers that, since the alleged perpetrator was arrested, he had been suspended and has not returned to the school to date," Sihle Ngobese spokesperson for the Department of Social Development in the Western Cape.

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