Ugandan accused of illegal abortions given bail

2011-11-11 00:00

UGANDAN national Jonathan Kinane (27), who is accused of posing as a doctor and performing illegal abortions on young women by giving them drugs to terminate their pregnancies, was yesterday granted bail of R700 on various conditions.

Pietermaritzburg magistrate Amanda Bezuidenhout said she believed that retaining Kinane’s passport and having him report to a police station will prevent him from leaving the country.

“I don’t see why he would not stand his trial,” she said.

She accepted that Kinane must have been in South Africa illegally for a period, but said there is evidence of him being in possession of a legal lifetime partnership permit to be in South Africa.

His advocate, Brad Osborne, submitted earlier that Kinane has gone to great lengths over the past three years to stay in South Africa and intends to plead not guilty to the charges, saying he has “family ties” here in the form of his fiancée and her child. He is working as a herbalist.

Bezuidenhout said the state’s case appears weak and that the court has to distance itself from any “emotional and moral issues” in the case.

She emphasised that investigating officer Samantha Kerr impressed her as honest, dedicated and passionate about her work, and sympathised with her about the horrors she had to face in her work.

However, she said, the state’s case against Kinane is based on “a lot of suspicion and vague circumstantial evidence”.

Kerr said police investigated the matter after the director of a women’s shelter reported that a young woman had been assisted by Kinane to terminate her pregnancy.

The foetus, allegedly buried, was not found.

Kerr was informed that Kinane operated as a doctor from Fraser Lane.

At his offices police seized a medicinal wrapper with Chinese writing, which was sent for forensic testing. Kinane was identified by witnesses at an identity parade.

Although the state has only two witnesses who were allegedly helped by Kinane to terminate their pregnancies, police are following information about other clients listed in cellphone records and books seized at the premises.

• ingrido@witness.co.za

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