East Rand serial rapist trial postponed

2012-06-06 16:01
Johannesburg - The trial of a man facing more than 33 charges of rape and 33 of attempted murder was postponed in the Alberton Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

The trial would continue in the Palm Ridge District Court on August 30, Magistrate Joe Martini said.

Defence for the accused also abandoned his bail application. He would be kept in custody.

The man stands accused of raping at least 33 girls between the ages of 10 and 14.

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

‘No bail for child abusers’

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

Outside court, banners of the rights group Women and Men Against Child Abuse reading: "Speed up justice for child victims" and "No bail for child abusers" were posted on walls.

Spokesperson for the rights group Tania Otto said a new magistrate, prosecutor and defence attorney had been assigned to the trial, as the others were elsewhere engaged.

Members of the ANC Woman's League were also stationed outside with posters reading: " You deserve to rot in jail" and "No bail for serial rapist".

They also shouted in Zulu that they would cut off his penis.

About 97 charges

When the matter was initially placed on the court roll during the man's last appearance in May, his DNA could be linked to 33 cases, prosecutor Joyce Xakaza told the 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.

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 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.

Booked into psychiatric hospital

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

"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.

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.
Read more on:    johannesburg  |  child abuse

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