Alleged serial rapist may face 97 charges

2012-05-09 22:17

Johannesburg - As many as 97 charges could eventually be brought against an East Rand man already facing 33 counts of rape and of attempted murder, a prosecutor said on Wednesday.

When the matter was initially placed on the court roll, DNA from the man could be linked to 33 cases, prosecutor Joyce Xakaza told the Alberton Magistrate's Court.

She said forensic evidence gathered since then connected him to dozens of other crimes.

Asked how many, she told the magistrate: "In a nutshell, in the high court there will be plus-minus 97 charges laid against the accused."

At the moment, the accused had been linked by DNA to 40 other cases, but this number could rise.

"Other charges include attempted murder and other sexual offences," Xakaza said.

The man cannot be named at this stage as he has not pleaded yet to the charges against him.

Case dockets

Magistrate Janice Saulse postponed the matter to May 14, for the defence to make a formal application for access to the case dockets and for the State to decide what they would furnish.

"We are not setting a date for formal bail application," she said.

Xakaza said investigations would continue and the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) asked for three months in order to draft the indictment.

"Give us enough time to investigate the matter... It's a huge and big case that needs to be investigated properly," she said.

"I must indicate that the matter is still under investigation, taking into consideration that we have more than 33 dockets to go through," Xakaza said.

Earlier, the defence said it could not continue with the bail application unless it had details of the charges against the 40-year-old man.

"The defence can't proceed with the bail application, and wishes to request a copy of the contents of the case docket or the indictment," Legal Aid Board attorney Londiwe Shange told the court.

"The defence can't be rushed into a bail application without knowing the complexity of the charges."

The State objected, saying the indictment and contents of the docket could only be made available for the purposes of a plea or trial.

However, Saulse ruled that copies of the documents be made available to the defence.

Stood passively

"The applicant should be granted access to parts of the State's documents.... The court will order that the State has the right to deny access [only] to parts of the docket that will interfere with investigations or State witnesses," said Saulse.

The man wore a red T-shirt and torn blue jeans at Wednesday's appearance. He stood passively as court proceedings ran their course.

He is accused of raping 33 girls between the ages of 10 and 14. He also faces 33 counts of attempted murder.

The man was arrested in Eden Park at the end of January after one of his alleged victims followed him home and alerted the police.

The girls, who are from Katlehong, Thokoza, and Vosloorus, on the East Rand, were apparently lured into the veld and raped between 2007 and 2011.

Outside the court, a small group of protesters gathered under the banner of Women and Men Against Child Abuse.

Spokesperson Vincentia Dlamini said they hoped bail would be opposed and that the man would be sent for psychological observation.

Xakaza confirmed that a bed was booked for the man at the Sterkfontein Psychiatric Hospital after the DPP asked that he be sent for observation.

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