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Cape court to hear case of sisters sexually abused in 1970s

The trial will see two Cape Town sisters testify against the people they allege abused them when they were children in the 1970s.

Picture: SAPS.

CAPE TOWN - A significant criminal trial involving alleged sexual abuse that happened more than four decades ago is likely to be delayed on Thursday.

The trial will see two Cape Town sisters testify against the people they allege abused them when they were children in the 1970s.

Claudine Shiels, aged 60, and her 56-year-old sister, Lisa van der Merwe, were able to bring charges because of a landmark Constitutional Court ruling that extended the statute of limitations on rape and abuse cases.

“It’s the oldest case at the moment. It’s 45-years-old. It is the first test case after the overturning ruling by the Constitutional Court on reporting sexual offences.”

Shiels said she and her sister believed there should be no time limit on justice, especially considering the lasting damage their experience has caused in their lives.

“I’ve suffered greatly in terms of nervous disorders. I have been hospitalised for nervous breakdowns. I have been treated for panic attacks. Both my sister and I have suffered. We have both been hospitalised and medicated due to anxiety.”

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)