Private Prosecution Unit assists member of the Johannesburg Bar with sexual assault charges against acting judge

AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit yesterday in a letter to Adv. Andrew Chauke, Director of Public Prosecutions in Gauteng, requested that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) reconsider their decision not to prosecute an acting judge for sexual assault. The unit is representing a female advocate who was allegedly sexually assaulted by the man. The unit also indicated in their letter that they would privately prosecute the acting judge should the NPA fail to reconsider their decision.

According to Adv. Gerrie Nel it is in his view repugnant that the person who is being accused of this crime is an acting judge and it seems that his role in society and profession as an attorney (including the fact that he has been nominated to appear before the Judicial Service Committee to become a judge) influenced the NPA’s decision not to prosecute. The victim also approached the Bar Council, the Johannesburg Society of Advocates and the Legal Practice Council, but received little to no support from these professional bodies.

“The Private Prosecution Unit has studied the docket and according to us there is enough evidence to prosecute. The NPA is once again failing a victim of genderbased violence by refusing to prosecute. Furthermore, it seems as though they have not even made an effort to consult with the victim. We are therefore forced to once again through this letter challenge the NPA to make good on their promises that cases of genderbased violence will be prioritised and to prove that they are not merely paying lip service,” says Adv. Nel.

According to Adv. Nel the complainant in the matter is very brave and has decided to stand firm against this tipe of criminal conduct against women. “The advocate during consultation said that it has become a dangerous occupation to be a woman in South Africa. That is why she has taken a stand in order to ensure that an environment is created in which her daughter, as well as other women will feel comfortable in pursuing a career without falling victim to ‘powerful’ and seemingly untouchable men, especially in the work place.”

“The number of cases of gender based violence that the Private Prosecution Unit has to deal with is alarming and an indictment against law enforcement’s commitment and competence to protect the vulnerable in society. Acknowledging that these matters may be complicated we have identified a growing tendency by the NPA to rather refuse to prosecute in the hope that the complainants will go away. We have the skills and experience in the office to ensure that justice will prevail for everyone,” says Natasha Venter, advisor at the Private Prosecution Unit.

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