ConCourt to rule on Frankel 8

14 November 2017 - 08:26 By Katharine Child
Section 18 of the Criminal Procedure Act imposes a limit of 20 years in which to prosecute for sexual assault but the limit does not apply to rape.
Section 18 of the Criminal Procedure Act imposes a limit of 20 years in which to prosecute for sexual assault but the limit does not apply to rape.
Image: Gallo Images/ IStock

The Constitutional Court will on Tuesday rule on whether a section of the Criminal Procedure Act should be declared unconstitutional because it treats sexual assault differently to rape.

The request that this declaration be made was put before the Johannesburg High Court by eight adults who claim to have been sexually assaulted by the late philanthropist Sidney Frankel when they were children in the 1970s and 1980s.

Frankel died at his home in Johannesburg earlier this year at the age of 68.

Eight alleged victims successfully approached the High Court to declare Section 18 of the Criminal Procedure Act unconstitutional.

The section imposes a limit of 20 years in which to prosecute for sexual assault. But the limit does not apply to rape.

The High Court ruled in favour of the victims and referred the matter to the Constitutional Court for a final ruling on the constitutionality of Section 18.

In their application to the High Court‚ the eight said Frankel had sexually assaulted them more than 20 years ago when they were between the ages of seven and 15.

The alleged assaults occurred at six locations‚ including Frankel’s home. The alleged victims said Section 18 violated the right to dignity and a fair trial of people sexually abused but not raped more than 20 years ago.

When they laid criminal charges against Frankel in 2015‚ the Directorate of Public Prosecutions in Gauteng declined to prosecute because of the time limit.

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