The young gay man who was raped by three men in Ceres in the Western Cape is forced to endure another wait as the sentencing of his assailants is delayed again.
Rodney Beukes, Austin Fritz and Peter John Adams, reputed to be members of the feared Ford Boys Gang, were found guilty by the Ceres Magistrates Court in October last year of kidnapping and raping the unnamed man.
Said to be one of the few successful prosecutions of male rape, the incident took place in 2017. The survivor, who was 23 when he was raped, testified that he believes that he was targeted because he is gay.
Following an earlier delay, the sentence was set to have been handed down on Monday but was once again delayed.
According to Sharon Cox from Triangle Project – which has monitored the trial and provided support to the victim – the magistrate could not proceed with the sentencing because a previously unknown and serious conviction against Fritz when he was a minor had since come to light.
“When he was a juvenile he did commit a crime, and he was sentenced as a juvenile; which is why it didn’t show up at first. He was sent to a juvenile detention centre at the time,” said Cox.
On Monday, the magistrate ordered that all the original documentation concerning the earlier crime and Fritz’s release and parole conditions must be submitted to the court. The new information could result in a harsher sentence for the rapist.
“The victim is kept updated on every hearing,” said Cox. “He naturally is frustrated that the sentencing has not happened but at the same time fully understands why and he would rather wait for the information to be placed before the court so that justice is served properly.”
She, however, condemned Fritz for not having revealed that he had the previous conviction.
“You sit there for four years [during the trial] showing no remorse and you know that you have a criminal history. You know that you cannot hide the truth and that it would come out. You sit there and say nothing and you draw the case out even longer…”
Cox praised the victim for not only laying charges against the men in the first place but also testifying against his rapists, despite fearing for his life.
“It is very common in this country for people to be paid to drop charges or to not report out of fear. People are afraid to speak out in the community and that’s why I’m so proud of the survivor for taking the stand,” she said.
The man was inspired to seek justice by the horrific 2014 murder of David Olyne. The 22-year old Olyne, also from Ceres, was murdered in a brutal homophobic attack. He was tied with wire, beaten, kicked and set on fire as a group of youths watched on.