Verulam stepfather accused of raping his stepdaughter denied bail

The man accused of raping his stepdaughter 900 times over a five year period was denied bail at the Verulam Family Court on Friday.

Magistrate Irfaan Khalil said, "I'm not satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances present for the applicant to be released on bail. There's a likelihood he will evade his trial and intimidate the child if he is released."

Read: Public outcry should not influence court in case of man accused of raping girl, 10 – lawyer

The accused faces charges of rape, sexual grooming of children, sexual assault, and exposure or display of or causing exposure or display of child pornography or pornography to children.

He also faces charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, compelling or causing children to witness sexual acts and child abuse or deliberate neglect of a child.

Verulam residents and security guards allegedly assaulted him on June 11, after it was alleged that he had raped the little girl since her mother's death five years ago.

Khalil postponed the matter to August 23 for further investigation. He will remain in custody at the Westville Prison.

He will appear via a video feed from the prison in his next court appearance.

Khalil said the violent nature of child abuse cases was a serious national concern.

He said it was highly possible that if the accused was released on bail, he would undermine public peace and security.

He said he took into consideration the nature of the offences that the accused faced, the breach of trust between the child and the accused and the petition signed by 129 members of the public.

He said it was also likely that the accused might "abscond" his trial because he was aware of the lengthy sentence he might get if found guilty.

"He has already issued threats while in jail. It is highly probable that he might intimidate the child when released on bail," he said.

Resident Roshnee Govender said they were "overjoyed because they got justice" on Friday.

"We did not want him to get bail. The magistrate's ruling will work in favour of everyone, including the child, in terms of safety," she said.

Members of the IFP and the DA protested outside court as the matter got underway.

"We're very excited about the court's decision to deny him bail. I was scared that he will be released. The justice system has favoured us as women who are against child and women abuse," said Ntombifuthi Gumede, an IFP PR councillor in the eThekwini Municipality.

Shehana Kajee, the leader of the Democratic Alliance's Women's Network in KZN said they were also jubilant that the man had been denied bail.

"We're looking forward to the trial now. We do understand that refusal of bail doesn't mean that he is guilty. If he is found guilty during his trial, we will be begging for a maximum sentence," she said.

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