A STATION Hill mother, whose four-year-old son was allegedly raped by a 15-year-old boy in January this year, was devastated when the case was withdrawn earlier this month, but is relieved it was recently reinstated.
The alleged incident took place on a field opposite Port Alfred Primere Skool n January 31 this year. Since then the field has been cleared of bush by local residents, led by local councillor Terri Stander.
The victim and his mother were referred to a psychologist for therapy in order for them to come to terms with the incident. The mother reported that her son was still deeply disturbed by what occurred and refused to sleep alone at night.
Following a postponement on September 3, the case was heard again at the Port Alfred Magistrate’s Court on September 10 where prosecutor Paul Rossouw withdrew the charges due to lack of evidence.
“They kept me waiting outside court all morning,” said the traumatised mother of the victim.
“No one came to tell me what was happening. Then I went into court and spoke to the prosecutor and he told me there was no evidence. That is ridiculous, as the police took all the evidence and sent it to the crime lab back in February.”
But this week Rossouw said the case was set to resume, although he said he was not at liberty to discuss the matter.
Saps station commander, Colonel Lizette Zeelie confirmed the results had been received from the lab and they were now ready to proceed with the case.
“With only one lab available to both the Western and Eastern Cape, results can take time,” she said.
Among the items taken by police was a pair of the victim’s underpants that allegedly showed evidence of semen and blood in the crotch.
Janine Backward, a friend and neighbour of the victim’s mother, said she could not understand why the prosecutor lacked enough evidence to warrant a trial in the first place
“The police spent about five hours searching the bush, bagging evidence and taking statements,” she said. “I cannot believe there was not enough evidence. Everyone in Station Hill knows what happened.”
“There are a number of problems with all this,” continued Backward. “If this has happened before, what’s to prevent it happening again? The boy accused of the crime is still free and living in Station Hill. What happens next year when the victim is due to attend the same school?”
The boy who was originally accused of the crime lives with his mother. His father is a policeman.
“We need to place our confidence in the police, but how can we when things like this happen?” asked Backward, referring to the earlier withdrawal of charges. “Who will protect us and our children if not the police?”
The victim’s mother, who is a single parent with two other children, said the incident had badly affected her entire family, and they did not feel safe while an alleged violent rapist was still free.
“I am pleased the prosecutor decided to proceed with the case,” she said. “My family needs closure and for those responsible for this crime to be punished.”