Rape suspect applies for bail

2012-08-14 20:10

Cape town - A man who allegedly raped a mentally disabled woman at an institution in Wellington applied for bail in the Cape Town District Court on Tuesday.

The man, who may not be identified until he pleads to the four rape charges at his trial, told the court he would plead not guilty.

He was accused of raping the 22-year-old woman while visiting his mother, who was the manager at the institution.

Prosecutor Vusi Tshabalala told the court that the man had raped the woman four times.

He said the 22-year-old had the mental capacity of girl aged between seven and 10.

Tshabalala told Magistrate Zwelidumile Sogwagwa that the court record incorrectly stated that the victim was mentally disturbed.

"There is a vast difference between being mentally disturbed and mentally disabled," he said.

The rape of a mentally disabled person was classified as a Schedule 6 offence, which meant that the accused had to persuade the court that there were special circumstances that justified his release on bail, and that his release was in the interests of justice, said Tshabalala.

The State was opposing the bail on the grounds that the circumstances made the alleged rape especially serious, and that the offence was classified as Schedule 6.

"Her circumstances make her a vulnerable person, who cannot make decisions for herself. By law, she will be treated as if she were a minor," said Tshabalala.

He said he would elaborate about the seriousness of the offence, as well as her mental capacity, later.

When questioned by defence attorney David Bazwana, the man said he was not arrested in the normal manner.

He said the investigating officer had informed his mother about the charges. She in turn, had informed her son, and had accompanied her son to the policeman's office on Friday 10 August.

From the office, they had gone to court, where he was taken into custody and remanded.

The bail application will continue on Wednesday.