Poland, in response to a shocking case of incest, is set to table legislation which will enable judges to sentence paedophiles to chemical castration. The bill, if passed, will be the first of its kind within the European Union and will spark intense debate both in Poland and the EU.
The case, involving a father who had two children with his daughter, was compared to that of the Austrian Josef Fritzl — who kept his daughter locked in a cellar — and outraged Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk enough to act immediately. A furious Tusk set the wheels in motion which gave rise to the draft legislation that is to be put before the Polish cabinet shortly.
Knowing my readers as I do, I’m sure that many of you lot will be saying “good job and while you’re at it throw in the rapists and other sex offenders”. On second thoughts knowing you lot it will be more like “shoot the lot of them”.
Returning to reality, this is going to receive enormous resistance from many groups including, but not limited to, the medical profession, lawyers, human rights groups and social workers. As opposed to them every genius and their dog. For example in Poland, if you read the article, the proposal received an 84% approval rating. Along the lines of comedian Rowan Atkinson in Not the 9 o’ clock news when asked what they could do to combat football hooliganism kept responding — “Cut off their goolies”.
As we saw in the article there are compelling alternatives which are not quite as drastic as chemical castration. Britain, for example, is looking at the encouraging results of testosterone reduction in sexual offenders being applied in Scandinavian countries. In Germany’ subject to the perpetrators cooperation’ they utilise therapy coupled to medication.
South Africa has been looking at this issue in earnest since 1999 with instances of magistrates ordering chemical castration in lieu of prison sentences. This has drawn criticism from some quarters which believe that it violates the constitutional rights of the parties concerned. It must be noted, in this regard, that the process can be reversed or used for a limited period.
Also into the mix must be factored studies which have shown that on occasion the procedure fails and the party concerned continues to offend.
Which leaves us with a balance of convenience equation — should the public’s right to be protected from sex fiends outweigh the right of these offenders who are protected in the constitution?
Should their abhorrent acts be deemed to be a waiver of certain protections afforded to them by the constitution?
If so, do you think that chemical castration is the best method of reducing the horrendous statistics of sexual offences in South Africa?
Over to you.