Ex-Bryanston High coach ruling: Court finds rape complainant 'is a manipulator'

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The Alexandra Magistrate's Court.
The Alexandra Magistrate's Court.
Lubabalo Lesolle
  • A former school sports coach was this week cleared of all charges in a sexual assault case.
  • The court questioned the credibility of the complainant's evidence which had too many question marks.
  • The complainant's mother is heartbroken by the ruling.

A former Bryanston High sports coach was cleared of all sexual assault charges in the Alexandra Magistrate's Court this week.

Aleshan Moodley, 33, was cleared on Tuesday after his legal team brought a Section 174 application in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act on 26 April.

The act stated charges might be dismissed if, among other reasons, the prosecutor had not offered material evidence at the trial, News24 reported.

Moodley's lawyer, Sita Kolbe SC, previously told the court there was no tangible evidence or witnesses to back up the allegations made by the pupil.

In his ruling, magistrate Gideon Schnetler said the following:

There are too many question marks in the complainant's evidence. There is no corroboration or even confirmation of her allegations. As said before, the court believes that she made up her evidence. There is, therefore, no evidence on which a reasonable man can convict.

As a result, the accused was found not guilty of all charges and discharged.

Moodley faced 12 charges in terms of common law and the Sexual Offences Act (32) of 2007.

The former sports coach pleaded not guilty to all charges and gave no plea explanation.

The court heard testimony from the complainant, her mother, the complainant's teachers, and the doctor who examined the complainant, to name a few.

The complainant's mother told News24 on Wednesday she was heartbroken by the ruling and felt the justice system had failed her child.

READ | Mixed reaction after ex-Bryanston High coach found not guilty of sexual assault

Schnetler - in his ruling - highlighted several points concerning the complainant's evidence.

The court found the complainant was "extremely vague and confused" when she attempted to describe the alleged acts committed by the accused.

"She could not put dates and places to the various acts. The court gained the impression that whilst she is testifying, she makes up the incidents. Noticeable, there are four counts of rape, but according to her, he did so three to four times per month.

"I must say at that time I thought that it will be difficult to convict the accused without other evidence," he said.

The court added it was difficult to find that he [the accused] instilled fear in her with the sexual assault, saying she was not afraid or scared of the accused, and "she even hit him on the sports ground".

It ruled the complainant had made up false charges to suit her own needs.

"This is not a white lie but a serious intentional lie to get what she wants. In other words, she is a manipulator. She will do so again and again."

The court said her quest to become the netball captain was her only end goal in high school as she was scholastically challenged.

However, it found her after-school activities "placed her prospects of captaincy in jeopardy and the accused pointed that out".

The court said there was no attempt to lay charges against the accused.

"Only when the complainant and the mother got confirmation that she will not be the netball captain [was it] that they set the wheels in motion to remove the accused from the equation."

As a result, the complainant fulfilled her quest to be the netball captain," Schnetler added.

The court said it could rely on the evidence of the doctor, who conducted an examination and "could not find anything wrong with the complainant".

It added the testimonies of the teachers did not assist the complainant's version and "showed a bias in favour of the complainant".

State accepts ruling, says Gauteng NPA

The Gauteng National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said it accepted the court's findings.

"The court ruled that the credibility of the evidence placed before it [especially that of the complainant] was of such poor quality that it had no choice but not to place the accused on his defence and therefore upheld the application by the defence to discharge the accused on all counts.

"We accept the court's decision as the NPA," its spokesperson, Phindi Mjonondwane, told News24.

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