• Teenagers and alcohol don’t mix. What are parents’ responsibilities to ensure that their children don’t abuse alcohol? We give a variety of tips in our Community Safety feature in the June 2017 issue of Servamus.

  • Tennis star Bob Hewitt found guilty 30 years after committing sexual abuse against those he coached. Read the details about what had happened in the Crime Series published in the June 2017 issue of Servamus.

  • Sexting – the exchange of sexual messages or images – is a reality in schools. Teachers and learners are perpetrators and it is important to know about the dangers. Read our article in the June 2017 issue of Servamus.

  • Teenage alcohol abuse combined with sexting can have devastating & deadly consequences. Parents need to get involved to prevent their children from becoming victims. Read our article in the June 2017 issue of Servamus.

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Compiled by Kotie Geldenhuys

Over the Easter weekend of 2017 the world was shocked when a video was uploaded to Facebook, showing the 74-year-old Robert Godwin being gunned down by a stranger on 16 April 2017 in the US city of Cleveland. In the video, the suspect, Steve Stephens, boasted that he had killed more than a dozen other victims, but police have not yet been able to link him to any other victims or incidents. The police searched for Stephens, but on 18 April 2017 he committed suicide by shooting himself after a worker at a drive through fast food outlet recognised him and alerted police. The question that has been asked ever since is whether the Stephens incident is an example of a "snuff film" or whether Stephens was simply recording a murder.

There are many views about the existence of snuff films. Some people argue that they do exist, while others are of the opinion that they are a myth - no more than a rumour or an urban legend. A snuff film can be defined as a real-life film or video recording of an actual murder, often made (or at least circulated) for pornographic reasons. The online dictionary, Your Dictionary (www.yourdictionary.com/ snuff-film) defines a snuff film as "a movie in a purported genre of movies in which an actor is actually murdered or commits suicide" and also as "a film that shows, or purports to show, the actual deliberate killing of one of the performers". Snuff has been defined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as a "visual depiction" of murder, intended to sexually arouse, and which is "commercially distributed" (Jones, 2011). The website www.soc.ucsb.edu/ sexinfo/article/snuff-films-0 defines a snuff film as "a feature film that depicts an actual murder, without the use of special effects, for entertainment or financially exploitative purposes. Snuff films rely on shock value to scare, disgust, and horrify the audience. Some snuff films exclusively feature a murder, but many also include acts of sexuality and sexual violence".

 

Background

Phillipson (2016) argues that while there has been evidence of certain real-life death recordings circulating the Internet, there is no legitimate source or conclusive evidence that a so-called "'snuff' production company even exists". However, since the early 1970s, rumours have persisted that, in the darkest corners of the world, particularly in sophisticated paedophile rings, murders are routinely filmed and distributed for the most extreme and sadistic form of entertainment.

Mikkelson (2008) explains that this urban legend supposedly all started with hippie-era cult leader Charles Manson and allegations that the "Manson's Family" was responsible for various murders in 1969 that were not reported in the mainstream media, but that were filmed. On 9 August 1969, Sharon Tate and four others were butchered by members of Charles Manson's "family" and, the following night, a married couple in a neighbourhood far from that of the Tate residence was slaughtered in similar fashion by the same group. In June 1970, Manson and four of his followers were brought to trial and found guilty of the murders - they were sentenced to death. Their sentences were later converted to life incarceration when the death penalty was abolished in 1972. With the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1977, their revised sentences were not affected, as re-sentencing them to the original penalty was deemed "cruel and unusual". Manson (who is now in his 80s) and his group of followers are still serving their life sentence.

Numerous books were written about Charles Manson's "family", their practices, and the murders in which they took part. In his 1971 book The family: The story of Charles Manson's dune buggy attack battalion, Ed Sanders relates that the family may have been involved in the making of "brutality films" (or, as he later terms them, "snuff films"). According to Mikkelson (2008), this was the first recorded use of the term.

 

"Snuff" - a theme for movies and online entertainment

The first fiction film that was widely acknowledged to exploit the use of the snuff motif is entitled Snuff and was released in 1976. Snuff was nothing more than a grand marketing scheme that made a shameless film into one of the most profitable - and notorious - films ever. Millions of theatregoers were snagged by the question "but what if it is real?" and it seemed that their morbid curiosity got the best of them, as many people who have heard of the film, but have never seen it, still insist that it does contain actual footage of human death and mutilation (Stine, 1999).

Charlie Sheen's movie Flower of flesh and blood, which was part of a series of films collectively known as Guinea pig, boasts special effects which were very cleverly executed. Flower of flesh and blood, in which a samurai character tortures and then dismembers a captive girl until she eventually perishes in front of the camera, was very controversial, but it wasn't real. According to The San Francisco Chronicle, "the FBI confiscated Sheen's tape and proceeded to investigate all involved, including Charles Balun, an early distributor of the film. Balun fiercely asserted that the film was a hoax and was merely a series of startling special effects. However, the Japanese took time to release Guinea pig Two: The making of Guinea pig One, revealing the technical sleight of hand in all its bone-cracking glory. After viewing this film, the FBI backed off and dropped the investigation" (Mikkelson, 2008).

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[This is only an extract of the article published in the May 2017 issue of Servamus. The rest of the article asks whether snuff is real or not; the link between the Internet and recorded murders; look at paedophile rings and snuff movies; and important what the law says on this subject. If you are interested in reading the rest of the article, contact Servamus’s offices at tel: (012) 345 4660/22 or send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]

Servamus - June 2017

In April 2013, a 17-year-old girl named Rehtaeh Parsons, was removed from life support and subsequently died.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
"Can you crawl through my window? I will do whatever you want. I want it to be first-class. First-class hotel, champagne and good sex."
By Kotie Geldenhuys
It is night-time in the city. Flashing neon lights and soft streetlamps create shadowy images across the pavement.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
In May 2017, the story broke that a young 22-year-old water polo teacher at Parktown Boys High had been accused of sexually grooming and assaulting more than 20 schoolboys, aged between 15 and 16 years, at this top school in Johannesburg.
By Kotie Geldenhuys

Pollex - Jun 2017

Read More - Gareth Prince, Jonathan David Rubin, Jeremy David Acton and Others v Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) and Others, unreported case no 8760/2013 dated 31 March 2017, Western Cape High Court (WCC)
This is the much-publicised case regarding an application by the three applicants supra, before a full bench of three judges of the High Court in Cape Town ("the court"), for a declaration that certain legislative provisions that prohibit the use, possession, purchase and cultivation for personal or communal consumption of cannabis (also referred to as "dagga" and/or "marijuana"), are invalid.
Read More - S V [Bob] Hewitt 2017 (1) SACR 309 (SCA)
This is the much-publicised case of the retired, world-renowned champion tennis player and instructor/coach, Bob Hewitt, who was convicted by the High Court in Pretoria on two counts of rape* and one count of indecent assault*.
Read More – Burford v Minister of Police, unreported case no CA 128/2015 dated 10 November 2015 (ECG)
Background Section 50 (1)(a),(b),(c) and (d)(i) of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 (“the CPA”) provides as follows:

Letters - Jun 2017

I am a retired member of the SAPS and I collect all kinds of SAPS memorabilia from the inception of the South African Police in 1913 right to the present.
I am a retired member of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and I would like to purchase a blue leather uniform jacket as worn by SAPS members.
On 21 April 2017, police colleagues of D/W/O Petrus Oelofse attended his farewell function, which was hosted by the Jeffreys Bay Stock Theft Unit.
June 2017 Magazine Cover

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