Charges against Soweto man dropped


Charges against a man accused of kidnapping and raping a Soweto teenager, the victim of a cellphone-filmed gang rape, were provisionally withdrawn in the Roodepoort Magistrate's Court on Friday.

The man had been accused of holding the 17-year-old mentally disabled girl against her will at his house in Braamfischerville, Soweto.

"Investigations are still incomplete and we don't even have a statement from the girl, so we can't keep him in custody indefinitely," National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga told Sapa by phone after the court case.

"We want to give the police sufficient time to complete investigations and reinstate the case later."

Mhaga said a psychiatric report on the girl, which would determine her mental capacity, was still outstanding.

At an earlier court appearance, the man was told to hire a lawyer, or to submit a request for Legal Aid. The girl went missing on March 21 and was found at his house in a search launched after police became aware of the rape video.

Four boys and three men, who matched the descriptions of rapists shown in a cellphone video of the attack, were arrested in Dobsonville, Soweto on April 17. The video went viral on the internet from April 18.

The four boys were granted bail by the Roodepoort Magistrate's Court on Thursday. The three men allegedly involved in the rape remain in custody.

The case against the three men, one aged 18 and two 19, and the three 17-year-olds would continue on June 20. The seventh youth, aged 13, would be back in court on May 17.

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