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September 18, 2003

Case against alleged deaf-mute molester postponed again

From: SABC News, South Africa - Sep 18, 2003

Residents of Tsineng village in the Kgalagadi District of the North West, are angry at the delay in prosecuting a local deaf-mute man who is alleged to have sexually molested five young girls. The case has been postponed four times in nine months, by the Mothibistad Regional Court because of the non availability of a sign language interpreter.

Tsineng village outside Kuruman is where the alleged sexual molestation of the five primary school girls, happened.

The accused, Albert Bagananeng (47), is a devoted christian, which is why the community has been shocked and angered by the alleged incident against him. The case has been dragging since the beginning of the year, and has now been postponed, again for the fourth time.

Ockert Bester, the accused's lawyer said: "My client can only have a fair trial if he understands the proceedings and that is the problem."

Advocate Sello Maema said:" When the Police arrested him, when a warning statement was taken already at that stage, they could have determined there's a problem relating to communication with the accused person and if they had brought it to prosecution already at that early stage all these delays would have been prevented."

The Directorate of Public Prosecutions has promised to provide a sign language interpreter, when the case resumes again on November 27. However, compounding the situation is that the accused has no formal training in sign language.

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