Allow the NPA room to do its job

Self-confessed child rapist Nicholas Ninow.
Self-confessed child rapist Nicholas Ninow.
Image: Alaister Russell / TimesLIVE

The National Prosecuting Authority should be praised for pursuing and pushing to prove its case in the Dros rape matter, instead of being vilified.

Just last week, South Africans were up in arms demanding harsh punishment for rapists and killers of women and children in the country.

There were even calls for the return of the abolished death sentence, out of frustration by the escalating gender-based violence.

Then rape accused Nicholas Ninow goes to trial on Monday and pleads guilty to two counts of rapes. He deposits a statement where he details how he raped a seven-year-old girl in the restaurant's toilet, claiming to have acted "impulsively" when she came into the cubicle to pee.

However, the NPA rejects certain parts of his version, goes to trial instead in a bid to prove its case to the court, as it is procedure in criminal matters. And that, among other things like physical evidence, requires them to put their witnesses in the dock to testify - and in this case the little girl.

When they do just that, what does some members of the public do? They take to social media to attack the NPA for traumatising minor victims by making them relive their ordeal like it was in the case of Ninow's victim.

Ironically, the same people who were demanding long sentences for perpetrators of violence against women and children, now want to dictate how prosecutors should do their job. How are they supposed to prove their version without the victim countering the evidence the accused put before the court?

Why do we want the court to believe the story of the alleged perpetrator without hearing the version of the victim?

If he walks off with a lesser jail term, the same critics will turn around and attack the prosecutions body for failing to do its job.

Understandably, the anger is based on emotions, as none of the outraged are experts in criminal law but please leave the NPA to do its work as it deems fit.

If they can prove to the court that the alleged rapist lied in his plea, that will assist them in calling for maximum jail term during aggravation of sentence.

And if Ninow gets the maximum imprisonment for his crimes at the end of the trial, that would be in the best interests of the victim, justice and society at large.