Court grants bail despite gang-rape DNA match

2016-10-22 12:28
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Mbombela - DNA samples taken from a young man and matched with those taken from a woman who was brutally gang-raped have linked him positively to the crime.

Zweli James Mndawe, 23, from Barberton was arrested with two of his accomplices in August after he was accused of being part of a gang who attacked and took turns in raping a 24-year-old woman earlier this year.

The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge of rape when he appeared in the Nelspruit Regional Court on Thursday.  

“The victim did not point out the accused during a police parade. But DNA samples taken from him have linked him positively to the gang that attacked and raped the victim,” said State prosecutor Magda Marais.

Marais said two of his accomplices were acquitted due to lack of evidence. Police were still searching for the other members of the gang.

“If the accused is granted bail, the community could be outraged because of the seriousness of the case. Violence was applied during the incident. The accused could skip bail as he is not from the country but from Mozambique,” said Marais.

 The accused’s Legal Aid defence asked the court to grant him bail as his particulars were handed to the investigation officer.

“He lives with a family in Barberton. He has agreed he will not interfere with the investigation and will not intimidate witnesses.

He is prepared to pay bail of R1 500 should the court grant it to him,” said the defence.

Magistrate Vanessa Joubert said the accused faced a serious offence, but has the right to freedom until he is proven guilty and convicted by the court.

“Gang rape is a serious offence. The court will grant you bail according to the conditions of a bail application. Don’t interfere with State witnesses or commit a similar offence. I am also aware that you have a family in Barberton. There is no indication that you will cross the border,” said Joubert.

The magistrate said police did not have difficulties tracing Mndawe after he had skipped his bail earlier.

“The court is aware that your accomplices also did not tell you about the date you were supposed to come to court. I have also accepted that you were away due to a job-related matter as you work on contracts. Bail of R1 500 is granted,” said Joubert.

The case was postponed to December 6.  

Read more on:    mbombela  |  crime

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