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Suspected child rapist goes free from Filipino jail

November 19, 2012 ·  , http://home.nzcity.co.nz

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A New Zealander arrested for raping two girls in the Philippines has been released from prison amid revelations of a meeting between his lawyer and the alleged victims facilitated by a mayor.

David William Wakefield, who holds dual New Zealand and British citizenship but has been living in Mozambique, was arrested in October and held in a Davao City jail accused of child trafficking, violation of the Anti-Child Abuse Act and the statutory rape of the girls, aged 12 and 13, from Kidawapan City.

However, Wakefield, 50, was released due to a technicality over his arrest, according to a Davao City police official, Senior Inspector Araceli Yaun, the Philippines’ Sun Star newspaper reported.

She said Wakefield had been placed under inquest proceedings after his arrest and was given 10 days to submit a counter-affidavit.

Wakefield was given “temporary liberty” despite the charges filed against him being considered non-bailable, Snr Insp Yaun said.

A New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman said the ministry was aware Wakefield had been released but could make no further comment other than that the government and its officials could not intervene in the justice system and law courts of other countries.

The Sun Star also reported that Kidapawan City Mayor Rodolfo Gantuangco, in a local radio interview, admitted allowing a meeting between Wakefield’s lawyer and his alleged victims and their guardians.

Mr Gantuangco said Wakefield’s lawyer, a personal friend, asked him to facilitate the meeting. It took place in his own resort at Barangay Sikitan a day before Wakefield was released from detention nine days ago.

He said he knew the meeting was about the amicable settlement of the case.

“Yes, I know that Wakefield’s lawyer came here to convince the victims and the guardians to settle the case amicably,” he said during the radio interview.

The Sun Star reported that the meeting took place despite strict orders from the Department of Justice in Davao not to allow meetings between defence lawyers and victims.

It was also reported that three women are wanted for recruiting the girls. The suspects, who were identified under the aliases Jane Malazarte, Sara Aisah and Jane Doe, all of Kidapawan City, face charges of violating anti-child abuse and anti-trafficking laws.

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