NDPP says state has ‘watertight case’ against Jasmine-Lee accused

2014-01-08 00:00

MXOLISI Nxasana, the new national director of public prosecutions, believes the state has a “watertight case” against the 23-year-old man charged with the rape and murder of Jasmine-Lee Pretorius (4).

Speaking outside the Brakpan Magistrate’s Court yesterday, Nxasana said he was very certain that the accused would be found guilty on both charges.

The man appeared briefly before magistrate Hatija Abba yesterday.

Clad in a T-shirt and sweatpants, he kept his blond head bowed, staring at his hands during the brief proceedings. He did not plead, and in terms of the law, suspects in a crime of a sexual nature may not be named until they have pleaded.

Nxasana added the state would oppose bail and support the heaviest penalty against the man, saying they would argue for life imprisonment.

When the magistrate asked about his legal representation, the man mumbled he would apply for legal aid. When he indicated that he would decide if he wanted to apply for bail at his next appearance on Monday, the magistrate had to ask for silence in court as people started to laugh.

The man did not look at the people in court or make eye contact with anyone. His family refuses to pay for a private attorney to represent him.

About 100 people gathered outside the court to protest. A large police contingent ensured order. Only half of the crowd were allowed in court. The remainder had to follow proceedings in an adjacent court on a large television screen.

None of Jasmine-Lee’s family attended the court proceedings because of fears for their own safety.

Police spokesperson Captain Tsekiso Mofokeng said the suspect had initially been charged with abduction on the day of Jasmine-Lee’s murder.

Mofokeng said that during an interview with police he confessed that he had hidden Jasmine-Lee’s body under her father’s bed.

Jasmine-Lee will be buried in Brakpan today.

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