Man accused of abusing stepson gets bail

2013-03-28 09:01

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Pietermaritzburg - A woman who laid charges against her husband for allegedly having oral sex with her son has supported his release on bail.

With the woman’s consent, her husband will move into her parents' home.

The 32-year-old self-employed businessman began crying and rubbing his hands over his eyes during the bail hearing on Wednesday, after the State unexpectedly raised a “last-minute” objection to him being allowed to live with his parents-in-law. The Pietermaritzburg man is the 7-year-old boy’s stepfather.

The man, who cannot be identified to protect the child’s identity, was granted R3 000 bail on condition that he does not communicate or interfere with, or in any way influence, his wife or stepson.

'Not a violent person'

The court also agreed that he could live with his wife’s parents pending his trial.

“I am not a violent person,” the man said in an affidavit presented to the court in support of his application by his advocate, Dalene Barnard.

He said he enjoyed a “very close emotional relationship” with his wife, with whom he has a 5-month-old daughter, and said he had shared a “close bond” with the stepson he is charged with abusing.

Barnard said the man was prepared to agree to any bail conditions the court deemed fit.

The bail conditions are that he must surrender his passport and report twice a week to a police station.

He is due to appear in a different court in connection with the same case after the Easter weekend. He has not yet been asked to plead to the rape charge.

In Wednesday's affidavit, the man said he would only comment on the merits of the case once he has “perused the docket”.

The State did not oppose the bail application and initially agreed that the man be allowed to live with his parents-in-law, but during the proceedings, prosecutor Nkonzo Mlotshwa said that on reflection the State believed this was “unfair” to the boy, because it would interfere with his right to visit his grandparents.

However, after calling for evidence from the father-in-law, and being assured that visiting would not be a problem, regional court magistrate Phumlani Bhengu granted bail.

'Close family'

Testifying on the man’s behalf, the boy’s grandfather confirmed that he and his daughter were in favour of his release on bail.

He said his daughter’s attitude was “very positive”.

“She wants him to be released on bail. She is delighted that we have opened our home to accommodate the accused,” he told the court.

The man said his daughter and son-in-law have been married for about 16 months.

He described his relationship with his son-in-law as “very good”.

The grandfather testified about his own involvement in a local church and said he knew the minister of the church to which his son-in-law belongs.

He told the court he didn’t believe that offering the man a place to live in would hamper his grandson’s ability to visit.

“Arrangements can be made … My wife and I have discussed the implications of the accused living with us,” he said.

He assured the court that he would make certain that “no contact whatsoever” took place between the man, his daughter and her son, saying they did not want to jeopardise the case.

He added that they were a “close family”.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  child abuse

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