The private prosecution by AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit of a well-known businessman in the financial sector on a charge of rape was postponed today in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court to 13 June 2019. This follows after the accused indicated that he would like to appoint Adv. Barry Roux as his legal representative and Adv. Roux was not available today. One of the conditions of the postponement – which was argued by Gerrie Nel, Head of AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit – was that neither the accused, nor any of his witnesses may have contact with the minor victim, pending the court’s decision.
The court ordered that neither the identity of the accused nor any information pertaining to the crime may be published. It is the Private Prosecution Unit’s first private prosecution case and falls within the category of cases where individuals are protected from prosecution because of who they are and what role they play in society.
“AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit cannot allow individuals such as this person to get away with committing a crime against a vulnerable child, simply because he has money and status. The Private Prosecution Unit was established to confirm equality before the law. It was the basis of the opposition’s argument that the matter should proceed in camera. AfriForum’s argument is that all accused persons should be treated equally. The Dros case and how the identity of the accused was dealt with in that case, was used as an example,” says Wico Swanepoel, a prosecutor at AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit.