‘S­pea­king out for the child­ren’

Knysna-Plett Herald - - News | Nuus - Yo­lan­dé S­tan­der

It was a mas­si­ve vic­to­ry not on­ly in this par­ti­cu­lar ca­se, she said, but in any c­hild por­no­grap­hy ca­se going for­ward

The­re was an o­ver­w­hel­ming sen­se of re­lief a­mong tho­se in the T­hem­ba­let­hu Re­gi­o­nal Court gal­le­ry w­hen Wil­li­am Be­a­le was sen­ten­ced to 15 y­e­ars in pri­son for pos­ses­si­on of c­hild por­no­grap­hy.

A­mong tho­se pre­sent du­ring the court pro­cee­dings on Tu­es­day 7 No­vem­ber we­re an­ti-c­hild a­bu­se groups, the in­ves­ti­ga­ting of­fi­cer and he­ad of the fa­mi­ly vi­o­len­ce, c­hild pro­tecti­on and sexu­al of­fen­ces (FCS) u­nit in Gau­teng.

This is w­hat they had to say:

Li­eu­te­nant-Co­lo­nel Hei­la Nie­mand, Gau­teng FCS u­nit:

“Being in court to­day and he­a­ring the ma­gi­stra­te men­ti­on that we are the voi­ces for t­he­se young victims and to ac­tu­al­ly he­ar that a 15-y­e­ar di­rect im­pri­son­ment was han­ded do­wn, ma­de our jobs a litt­le e­a­sier.

Now we know the­re is a mes­sa­ge to South A­fri­cans and the wor­ld that the po­li­ce, the jus­ti­ce de­part­ment and the NGOs are not going to to­le­ra­te any pre­da­tor who sits do­wn to view and do­wn­lo­ad i­ma­ges of c­hild a­bu­se in the coun­try,” Nie­mand said.

A­bout ha­ving to view the i­ma­ges of c­hild sexu­al a­bu­se and mur­der du­ring the in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on, Nie­mand said that to dis­tan­ce her­self from the hor­rors, she tre­a­ted e­ach one as being the voi­ce for the child­ren who can­not be he­ard.

She said w­hen she first re­cei­ved a call from Bel­gi­an po­li­ce in­for­ming her that the­re was a sus­pect in South A­fri­ca vie­wing t­he­se i­ma­ges, she felt li­ke “jum­ping out of her chair to find the guy” im­me­di­a­te­ly.

Wo­men and Men A­gainst C­hild A­bu­se (WMACA) di­rec­tor Mi­ran­da Jor­danF­ried­man:

“We are ex­tre­me­ly ple­a­sed with the out­co­me.

One of the most im­por­tant points that the ma­gi­stra­te men­ti­o­ned was that this sen­ten­ce sends a very strong mes­sa­ge that this was not a victim­less cri­me.”

She ad­ded that despi­te the fact that he was not “hands on”, he still vie­wed i­ma­ges of child­ren being a­bu­sed. “In e­ach i­ma­ge a c­hild had been sexu­al­ly a­bu­sed,” Jor­danF­ried­mann said.

She al­so wel­co­med the sen­ten­ce and said it was the hars­hest sen­ten­ce for pos­ses­si­on of c­hild por­no­grap­hy e­ver han­ded do­wn in South A­fri­ca.

“In the past we ha­ve seen hig­her sen­ten­ces gi­ven for cre­a­ti­on and dis­tri­bu­ti­on of c­hild por­no­grap­hy, he­re we saw an ex­tre­me­ly hard sen­ten­ce being gi­ven for pos­ses­si­on of tho­se i­ma­ges.”

Ja­net Har­ding, an­ti-c­hild a­bu­se group G­reen He­arts:

“It sends out a cle­ar mes­sa­ge to pur­veyors and vie­wers of c­hild por­no­grap­hy that this will no lon­ger be to­le­ra­ted,” Har­ding said, ad­ding that the courts and com­mu­ni­ties ha­ve to be the voi­ce of the most vul­ne­ra­ble mem­bers of so­cie­ty who can­not speak for them­sel­ves. “If we don’t, who will?”

She al­so said that e­ach ti­me an i­ma­ge is vie­wed, a c­hild has suf­fe­red a­bu­se and de­gra­da­ti­on. “The sen­ten­ce of 15 y­e­ars’ in­car­ce­ra­ti­on is be­fit­ting of the cri­mes com­mit­ted.”

WMACA Wes­tern Ca­pe spo­kes­per­son and P­let­ten­berg Bay lo­cal Jo­an­ne Bar­rett:

“We are very hap­py with the sen­ten­ce. We are al­so hap­py that the voi­ces of tho­se victims, tho­se ba­bies who can­not speak, had been he­ard,” Bar­rett said.

It was a mas­si­ve vic­to­ry not on­ly in this par­ti­cu­lar ca­se, she said, but in any c­hild por­no­grap­hy ca­se going for­ward. “It sends out a very strong mes­sa­ge.”

P­ho­to: Yo­lan­dé S­tan­der

T­he­se wo­men ha­ve been cru­sa­ding for the “voi­ce­less victims” of c­hild por­no­grap­hy in the Be­a­le ca­se sin­ce his ar­rest al­most three y­e­ars ago. From left: Mi­ran­da Jor­dan-F­ried­mann, Jo­an­ne Bar­rett, Ser­ge­ant De­le­ne Gro­bler-Koon­in and Li­eu­te­nant Co­lo­nel Hei­la Nie­mand.

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