Judge drops gen­i­tal mu­ti­la­tion charges

‘Leg­is­la­ture made a glar­ing omis­sion’

The Star Late Edition - - NEWS - AN­DREW MOSES

THE FREE State High Court yes­ter­day dropped sev­eral charges against Peter Fred­erik­sen, who is ac­cused of sev­er­ing women’s cli­torises in il­le­gal op­er­a­tions at his house, be­cause it is not a pun­ish­able of­fence in South Africa.

The Dan­ish na­tional is, how­ever, still fac­ing other charges in­clud­ing con­spir­acy to com­mit mur­der, rape and fraud, but the rul­ing brings to an end the an­gle of ex­ten­sive in­ter­est to a case which had drawn a global fol­low­ing since it broke about two years ago.

Fred­erik­sen was ar­rested in Septem­ber 2015 af­ter the Hawks found a plas­tic bag in a locked deep-freezer con­tain­ing 21 cli­torises packed in small plas­tic bags. This was af­ter a tip-off from his late wife, Anna Mat­seliso Molise, fol­low­ing a do­mes­tic dis­pute.

He was charged with con­tra­ven­ing cer­tain sec­tions of the Na­tional Health Act (NHA) of 2003 and faced about 20 charges for the re­moval of hu­man tis­sue, as well as the re­moval of hu­man tis­sue in an unau­tho­rised place.

Yes­ter­day, Judge Jo­han Daf­fue ex­pressed re­gret at the coun­try’s laws when he de­liv­ered judg­ment fol­low­ing an ap­pli­ca­tion for dis­charge by Fred­erik­sen at the close of the State’s case, say­ing the leg­is­la­ture made a glar­ing omis­sion by not ad­e­quately cov­er­ing the re­moval and trans­plan­ta­tion of hu­man tis­sue when it passed the NHA.

“Right from the start of the trial, I had doubts if the ac­cused would be found guilty on these charges,” said Judge Daf­fue.

“The ap­pli­ca­tion for dis­charge for counts 8-27 is there­fore granted,” he added.

Fred­erik­sen’s ap­pli­ca­tion for dis­charge on two other charges, how­ever, did not suc­ceed, and he is now ex­pected to put up his de­fence when the case re­sumes on Oc­to­ber 11.

He wanted to be ac­quit­ted on the charge of con­spir­acy to com­mit mur­der, in which he is ac­cused of plot­ting the hit in which his wife was gunned down in Maseru, Le­sotho, as well as the charge of pay­ing a State wit­ness in or­der to in­flu­ence the per­son’s tes­ti­mony.

Jus­tice Daf­fue said it was sur­pris­ing that for some rea­son, the NHA, which re­pealed the Tis­sue Act, failed to ad­e­quately cover the re­moval of hu­man tis­sue and the penal­ties at­tached to it. He said it was, there­fore, im­pos­si­ble for courts to ven­ture into the area of leg­is­la­ture, and sug­gested Par­lia­ment re­view the law.

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