Rape charges against Jules High pupils withdrawn

The charges of consensual sexual penetration against three Jules High School pupils were provisionally withdrawn in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court, the Star reported on Thursday.

The court instructed the three teenagers to go through a three-month diversion programme, as presented by the Teddy Bear Clinic.

The three will not have criminal records to their names if they completed the programme.

The two boys were arrested on November 8 after allegedly raping the girl at her school in Jeppestown on November 4. They allegedly filmed the incident on their cellphones, which was later shown to prosecutors as evidence.

The National Prosecuting Authority charged the girl under the new Sexual Offences Act with consensual sexual penetration after she admitted that the sex was consensual.

The Teddy Bear Clinic’s assistant director Shaheda Omar told the Star, “The [diversion] programme will make them aware of the legislation, unlawful behaviour and the repercussions thereof.”

The Star reported that the diversion programme would include components of drama, dancing, music and art therapy.

NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said the teenagers would be issued with arrest warrants and charged with contempt if they failed to honour the programme.

Investigations into the filming, possession and distribution of the cellphone video clip would continue, the newspaper reported.

Anomalies in the Sexual Offences Act
The Teddy Bear Clinic and Resources aimed at the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect filed papers at the North Gauteng High Court on Monday to appeal certain anomalies in the Sexual Offences Act.

South African children above the age of 12 cannot be denied access to condoms, yet anyone who knows that a sexual activity is taking place between children aged between 12 and 16 years has the duty to report it to the police.

The papers challenge the unconstitutionality of criminalising children between the ages of 12 and 16 years for engaging in consensual sexual activity. The two parties have asked the court to declare section 15 and 16 of the Sexual Offenses Act unconstitutional as it gives provision for children involved in consenting sexual acts to be criminalised.—Sapa and M&G Reporter

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