Image via: Adobe Stok
Image via: Adobe Stok
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is forging ahead with sexual assault charges against a former coach at Bryanston High School, a local non-profit organisation has said.
The matter was heard before the Alexandra Magistrate’s Court on Monday, 24 August 2020, where the prosecution said the suspect had a case to answer.
Women and Men Against Child Abuse (WMACA) said they were pleased with the court’s decision and that a trial date had been set for Monday, 31 August 2020.
The organisation said the families of the victims were relieved that the matter would finally go to trial, following a number of delays.
“For WMACA this is a positive move in a case that has until now been favourable to the perpetrator. Today’s decision supports the victims”, WMACA said in a statement.
“It communicates that the Prosecution team agrees there is a case that can be brought against the accused. For the victim this instils trust in the system”, it further said.
In September 2019, the accused approached the Senior Public Prosecution (DPP) to make representations and have his case thrown out in court. However after the DPP refused to have them reviewed, the matter was then taken to the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP)
According to the organisation, it has been over 18 months since charges were laid against the coach and, since then, they have seen a number of postponements to secure a decision to prosecute.
The 33-year-old man, who cannot be named as he is yet to plead, was accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old learner at the school in January 2019. He was subsequently arrested and the school dismissed the coach.
Three students have accused the man of sexual assault so far, however it remains to be seen if more students could come forward, even 18 months into the case.
WMACA said the matter had been postponed at least 14 times, which has negatively affected the victim who was in matric at the time the case was opened.
The organisation has lashed out the country’s criminal justice system, saying it more often than not, favours the perpetrators.
“It is discouraging for victims to engage a system that will continue to require them to remain victims for justice to be served. When it takes 18 months for a decision to persecute to be delivered it becomes increasingly difficult for victims to trust that the system activates to defend their interests”