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‘Justice system failed our boy’

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Williams was in “a position of trust” as he was regarded as family by the victim

IN COURT: Christopher Williams, who was sentenced to correctional supervision for the rape of a six-year-old boy. Picture: Danie van der Lith

THE FAMILY of an 11-year-old Kimberley boy who was raped when he was only six years old, said that the “justice system has failed them” after the child’s rapist received what they consider a “soft” sentence.

Christopher Williams, 23, was on Friday sentenced in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court to five years correctional supervision, which will include house arrest and community service, after being found guilty of raping a six-year-old boy in 2013, when he (the accused) was 18 years old.

Magistrate Memory Qomoyi sentenced Williams after he was earlier convicted of raping the young boy at a house in Galeshewe, a crime that carries a minimum prescribed sentence of life imprisonment.

While handing down the sentence, Qomoyi stated that “rape was a repulsive crime and that she could not overemphasise its seriousness”.

“Rape is an invasion of the victim’s most private personal zone and strikes at the dignity of such a victim. It is degrading and brutal, and in this case had a tremendous psychological impact on the child, to such an extent that the child had to be relocated. He was robbed of his innocence,” Qomoyi said.

Noting aggravating circumstances, Qomoyi said that a J88 medical report indicated that the child sustained injuries during the incident, and that Williams was in “a position of trust” as he was regarded as family by the victim.

However, after noting that Williams was a first offender with no previous convictions or pending cases, and that a correctional supervision report indicated that Williams could be rehabilitated, Qomoyi said that life imprisonment would be “shocking and unjust” under the circumstances, adding that compelling and substantial circumstances existed to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence.

“While the crime of rape is considered in a serious light, you are already despised by your community members, to the extent that they don’t want you in the area where you were residing – that will also serve as punishment. A too long prison sentence might have a negative impact on you. Although rape of a minor is considered serious, this is not of the worse kind and I have heard of much more serious rape crimes,” Qomoyi told Williams.

She added that correctional supervision would be an “appropriate sentence” in the context of “restorative justice” and should not be seen as a “soft sentence”.

Williams was then sentenced to five years correctional supervision, which will include house arrest for the entire sentence, as well as 16 hours per week community service and the forced attendance of social programmes.

Qomoyi stated that the sentence would give Williams the opportunity to rehabilitate in a “community context”. She further ordered that his name be entered in the National Register for Sex Offenders, making him ineligible to ever work with children.

After proceedings, female family members of the young victim were in shock and close to tears , saying that “the justice system has failed the child” who is still, to this day, tormented by the incident.

“The sentence was given without any consideration for the young victim, who had to be relocated to another city following the rape. We are shocked and angry at the sentence that will see this rapist back on the streets. We were expecting him to spend the rest of his life behind bars for what he did to the boy, who will never in his life forget the incident.

“The justice system has failed not only the boy but our community as a whole,” the women said.