Bryanston High sexual assault case: Court hears former sports coach bought victim takkies, lunch

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Picture: iStock/ TheCrimsonRibbon
Picture: iStock/ TheCrimsonRibbon
  • The court heard that a former high school sports coach allegedly bought the victim food and takkies.
  • Aleshan Moodley pleaded not guilty to 12 counts of sexual assault, assault and rape. 
  • A netball coach at the school told the court that Moodley said the victim did not have a pleasant upbringing and that he played a father figure role.

The Alexandra Magistrate's Court heard on Tuesday that former Bryanston High School sports coach, Aleshan Moodley, accused of sexually assaulting and raping a pupil, bought takkies for the victim, paid for her lunch at the tuckshop and brought her food from home.

The testimony was given to the court by the State's witness, Nadia Johnson, a teacher of 13 years at the school. 

Moodley's case first came to light after a pupil accused him of sexual abuse.

He was arrested in January 2019 after the pupil and her mother opened a case against him. 

Moodley faces 12 counts of sexual assault, assault, and rape.

He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

The charge sheet, which News24 has seen, also stipulates that, in 2017, the accused beat and inappropriately touched the complainant's behind.

After many months of postponements since charges were laid, the trial got under way on Monday and the complainant gave her testimony. 

Her mother also testified in court before the magistrate, Gideon Schneitler. 

READ | My child would not 'lie about this' - mother testifies in Bryanston High School sexual assault case

Familiarity questioned

Giving her evidence in chief on Tuesday, Johnson, who coaches netball at the school, said the complainant was first introduced to her by Moodley, and she was a phenomenal netball player. 

"The background to this is, obviously, I didn't know much about [the complainant]. Mr Moodley brought her to Bryanston High School from another school. 

"He got her in. He introduced her to me. I saw her play for the very first time – and I agreed that she is a phenomenal netball player. I was happy to take her," Johnson said. 

The teacher said the complainant played for the first team for two years before being elected as captain in 2019. 

Asked by the State whether she had picked up any inappropriate interaction between the complainant and the accused, Johnson said she found their relationship odd - but, when she queried, Moodley said he was acting as a father figure. 

"I questioned the familiarity, and Mr Moodley informed me that she had a bad childhood and that he was like a father figure. I questioned things like buying her takkies, paying for her lunch at the tuckshop, bringing her lunch to school – [and] him allowing her to place her school bag in his office, after school, before school and during school days," she told the court. 

Surveillance cameras installed

The court also heard from the teacher that the victim would even sleep over at Moodley's house because she was close to them.

"That was the back story, and so I assumed they were family friends. He (Moodley) would tell me that even [the complainant] would sleep over and it was nothing new, and his wife would contact [her] mother to ask permission for her to sleep over," Johnson said. 

She testified that teachers would complain to her, as the head of netball, about Moodley calling the complainant out from classes and he would say that he needed to talk to her. 

Johnson said it was not normal for a sports coach, who is not a teacher, to call pupils out during class – and, if that was the case, it was only before teaching hours, during break and after school. 

Captains of teams were usually the ones to be called by coaches, and the complainant was not one at the time. 

Johnson said surveillance cameras were installed in the area leading up to Moodley's office because there had been complaints of female pupils frequenting the office. She said Moodley would also call boys out from classes. 

She told the court that, while the victim was brilliant in sports, she struggled with academics. She added, though, that she never found her disrespectful and rude.

Details not in statements submitted

Moodley's lawyer, Sita Kolbe SC, questioned Johnson's testimony that numerous girls were called out of classes by him.  

The lawyer found it strange that details about Moodley calling girls and boys from classes to his office were not in Johnson's statement, but she testified about it. 

"The thing is that police investigate allegations by witnesses. Now, nowhere in any of the four statements by you, do you make mention of the numerous boys, girls called out of class, and the entire staff knew about that," Kolbe said. 

She added: " I'll tell you why it is not in one of your four statements; you dreamt it up now for the case." 

The trial was postponed to 15 February, with the State expected to lead further evidence from witnesses. 

Moodley's bail is extended until his next appearance.

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