Gym rape suspect cleared

2014-09-15 14:49
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Jeff Wicks, The Witness

Durban - New evidence of an existing relationship and CCTV footage that undercut allegations of a "rape" at a popular gym have seen the case thrown out of court.

A man accused of raping a 15-year-old girl at Westville Virgin Active will not face prosecution, after the National Prosecuting Authority examined the docket.

The gym is popular with Westville school pupils, and is set in one of the city’s most sought-after ­suburbs.

No sign of duress

The footage, captured by a network of cameras inside the gym, is understood to have caught the two exchanging conversation and shows their walk into a bathroom, with no sign of duress from the girl.

Evidence from the victim’s circle of friends also indicates that she and her alleged attacker had been in a relationship, and medical evidence suggests that no act of sex had taken place.

The alleged rapist, who was identified by gym management and police almost immediately after the incident, was extensively questioned by police and was released.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Stephen Clark confirmed that the senior public prosecutor had reviewed the investigation docket and returned it with a note indicating that there would be no prosecution.

“That docket was investigated and then presented to the senior public prosecutor at Pinetown court.

“Now considering that the apparent victim was 15-year-old, one would think that there was the option of statutory rape. This too was declined to prosecute. This means that the medical examination said that no act took place.

“Further evidence on CCTV clearly showed that the two were in a relationship. This fact was confirmed by fellow schoolgirls. The result of the matter was that there was no forced or otherwise sexual contact between the two,” Clark said.

Relief

Virgin Active spokesperson Les Aupiais said the conclusion of the case had brought relief.

“We are extremely relieved that the case has been concluded and we trust that Westville Virgin Active members and their families are now assured that the club remains a safe venue for training,” she said.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara said that she was unable to confirm the decision until she had received an instruction in writing.

The girl’s family have gone to ground, and repeated attempts to contact them proved unsuccessful.

Read more on:    virgin active  |  durban  |  crime

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