n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - A forensic case study of a paedophile illustrating the presentation and value of the pre-sentence evaluation report

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The primary purpose of the pre-sentence report is to provide the court with comprehensive information about the offender as a person in order to assist in the passing of an appropriate sentence. The report provides details and an explanation of the causes and context within which the crime took place. This information is often not known to the magistrate and serves to individualise the offender. The report undertakes to include both aggravating and mitigating factors and concludes with the consideration of a number of possible sentence options. The above information is, however, not prescriptive and serves merely as a guideline for the court.

In the case under discussion the accused is a white, married male under the age of 30, convicted by the Benoni Regional Magistrate's Court on four counts of indecent assault as well as eight counts of contravening section 14(1)b of the Sexual Offences Act 23 of 1957. The accused had sexual encounters with a number of adolescent boys aged between 14 and 18 years of age over a period of years. Further investigation reflected that not all the boys involved were affected in the same way. It seems that each boy experienced the situation differently, depending on the particular boy's personality and circumstances. The article examines the effect of sexual abuse on a child as well as characteristics of the sex offender who specifically targets children.
The sentencing of a sex offender is the focus of much attention by the media, the specific community involved and wider society. The current trend is for more stringent punishment and that offenders serve a more realistic portion of their sentences. The sentence imposed should set an example to society and show potential offenders that crimes against children will not be tolerated.


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