State failure continues to deny child rape victims of swift justice – Action Society

“It is sad to say, but even the tiniest step to move a case along feels like a major breakthrough these days. Insufficient investigating capacity, forensic backlogs and long waiting lists at state psychiatric facilities leave victims and families in trauma limbo for years.”

This was Action Society’s Kaylynn Palm’s first reaction after the Bellville Magistrate’s Court confirmed that the suspect in the rape case of Jason Hendricks* was placed at the Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital for observation after months on the waiting list. Hendricks was raped by a man in Belhar in Cape Town last year. The case has been postponed to 15 February for the outcome of the observation.

Meanwhile, the long-awaited sentencing of two teenage boys who were found guilty of raping Jasmine almost four years ago was postponed for a second time this week. The case went through more than a dozen postponements, but the two were finally found guilty last year in a massive victory for the young girl. On Thursday, the prosecutor supplied the pre-sentencing report; however, the defence indicated they needed more time to review it. The matter has been postponed to 9 February 2024.

“We must never get used to and accept delays, waiting lists and incomplete documents or dockets. State failure cannot be allowed to become an accepted norm. The wheels of justice must turn. It cannot be stuck like this!”

“Though we are pleased to see the small step in Jason’s case, it was heartbreaking to have yet another postponement in Jasmine’s case. Justice is in sight but still just out of reach – at least for a few more days. Our fight for Jason and Jasmine will continue until the prison doors lock behind their attackers.”

*Both Jason Hendricks and Jasmine are pseudonyms to protect the identity of the victims

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