Rape case against officer to go on

2016-06-16 10:00

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Pietermaritzburg - A Pietermaritzburg policeman charged with raping a sex worker in 2013 will have to lead evidence in his defence after a regional magistrate yesterday refused to acquit him at the end of the state’s case.

Advocate Brad Osborne, who represents Riaan van Rensburg (45), had asked the court earlier this week to grant Van Rensburg a discharge at the end of the state’s case, on grounds that the state had failed to make out a sufficient case against him.

Among other things, Osborne said the evidence of the alleged victim was full of inconsistencies and her testimony did not tally with statements she made to the police and to others.

One of his criticisms of her evidence was that while she testified about two alleged acts of rape, she had not told the police officer who first assisted her, nor the district surgeon, that she was raped more than once.

Osborne submitted that this supports Van Rensburg’s version that there was “simply one act of consensual sexual intercourse”.

He also said that in light of the fact that she was an active sex worker, the woman’s evidence that she believed that Van Rensburg was taking her out on a date, and not for an act of prostitution, was “highly improbable”.

Osborne said the woman came across as “hostile and evasive” throughout cross-examination.

Opposing the application, state prosecutor Ricky van Wyk said while admitting that there were contradictions in the woman’s oral evidence compared to her written statement to the SAPS and what she had told other witnesses, she had not deviated from her main allegations.

He said she was subjected to “intense cross-examination where every part of her version was scrutinised and explanations requested”.

She had told the court that this was a traumatic experience for her and that while there were “certain minor details” she was not sure of, she was certain of the main details of how the incident occurred.

After considering the various arguments, regional magistrate Bhekizitha Phoswa ruled that the case against Van Rensburg must go on.

He did not give reasons for the ruling at this stage, but simply adjourned the case until July 4 and 5 for the defence to lead its evidence.

The woman testified during the trial, which began last year, that Van Rensburg raped her on two occasions in a plantation at Hilton, and made her perform another sexual act on June 14, 2013.

He also allegedly tried to stab her after she tried to run away.

Van Rensburg pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping, robbery of two cellphones, rape and attempted murder arising from the alleged incident, and his advocate said he would allege the woman had consented to have sex with him for money.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  rape  |  court

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