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Sidney Frankel's abuse accusers go to court over sexual offence laws

Although Frankel has died, his accusers still want the country’s laws to be changed so that sexual offences do not prescribe or expire.

FILE: Several people claiming to have been sexually assaulted by billionaire Sidney Frankel as children during the 1970s and 1980s have laid a civil claim against the businessman. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Sidney Frankel’s accusers will on Monday go to court to try and change the country’s laws around when a victim/survivor of a sexual offence can lay criminal charges against their abuser.

Several people have come forward claiming that the philanthropist stock broker abused them decades ago when they were children but according to the law, they only had 20 years to open a criminal case against him which has now expired.

Frankel died earlier this year but the matter is expected to proceed regardless.

Although Frankel has died, his accusers still want the country’s laws to be changed so that sexual offences do not prescribe or expire.

Attorney Ian Levitt explains: “Because as it stands now, all sexual offenders, other than rape, are prescribed after a 20-year period after the date the offence was committed.

“So that means, 20 years and one day after the offence was committed the perpetrator could run around, smiling and laughing and there could be nothing that the father of the sexual offence victim could do.”

If they are successful, this decision could have significant implications for all people who wait decades to come forward to expose sexual abuse as the law stands, if 20 years has passed since the abuse occurred, the perpetrator can no longer be criminally charged.