Two teens allegedly abducted

2010-07-03 00:00

THREE Pietermaritzburg men appeared in court yesterday in connection with allegations that they abducted two teenage girls and sexually violated them while they were in their company over two days.

The three accused are believed to be cousins who live in Chase Valley and Hayfields.

They appeared before local magistrate Divesh Mootheram charged with two counts of abducting the teens (aged 14 and 15 years) on June 28, as well as two counts of statutory rape, which allegedly occurred on June 29.

They were released on bail of R1 000 on condition that they “stay away”from the alleged victims and do not communicate, interfere with or intimidate them or any state witnesses in the case.

The trio, aged 31, 27 and 18 years, were not asked to plead. Because the charges involve a sexual offence, the law bans the publication of the accuseds’ identities until they have pleaded.

Although the state is not alleging that full sexual intercourse took place, the alleged actions of the accused would amount to rape in terms of the new Sexual Offences Act, the court was told.

The prosecutor said there was some indication that the teenagers might have voluntarily accompanied the accused, but added that the abduction charge is nonetheless valid because they are under-age and not in a position to give their consent.

“They did not have the permission of their guardians,” she said.

The question of whether the teens were forced or acted under duress is still under investigation, as one of the girls apparently alleges that she was afraid to go with the men initially, but followed her friend’s lead.

The state alleges that the two teenagers met up with the accused at the Express Garage and ended up staying in their company for the next two days while police searched for them.

They were allegedly spotted with the accused at Liberty Midlands Mall and, following a tip-off, were traced by police to the home of the 31-year-old accused in the Chase Valley area.

The prosecutor said police are also still investigating the possibility that the teenagers were given alcohol or drugs during the incident.

The state has yet to finalise interviews with the girls.

The prosecutor saidthe safety of the girls is not an issue and the state therefore does not oppose the granting of bail.

The 31-year-old admitted he has a previous conviction for assault, and the 27-year-old told the court he was previously convicted of fraud. None of the three is charged with any other pending cases.

Shortly before the case was postponed to August 19 for further investigation, the 31-year-old accused said he fears for his life and asked not to be returned to the court cells.

It emerged he had witnessed an incident in the cells resulting in “talk”that he would be harmed when he went back.

Arrangements were made for bail to be paid on his behalf, while he and his co-accused waited in the courtroom.

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