PE singer stands trial for rape

Adrienne Carlisle

A BRITISH medical specialist will give evidence via a video link tomorrow at the trial of Port Elizabeth singer Iain McLaggan – the son of top auctioneer Neil McLaggan – who is accused of raping a visiting British teenager in 2010.

McLaggan, 31, who at the time was a game ranger and student coordinator, is on trial in the Grahamstown High Court for the rape of the 18-year-old who was involved in a student programme at the Shamwari Game Reserve.

McLaggan has appeared as a vocalist with TwoTone Productions as part of the TwoTone Show Band, which has staged a number of shows in Port Elizabeth.

The woman, now 20, gave her evidence of the alleged rape in camera last week, meaning the media could not report on the details of her testimony.

McLaggan is the youngest son of veteran Port Elizabeth auctioneer Neil, who said last night: “We don’t know the facts and believe he is innocent until proven guilty.

“As a family we hope that people would respect us, no matter what the outcome of the case might be.”

It is the state’s case that McLaggan raped the intoxicated girl after a night out drinking with the group of international students on a Worldwide Experience programme at Shamwari in September 2010.

McLaggan took the group drinking at a nearby pub. The state contends that he carried the ill and intoxicated teen from the taxi to her room.

Witnesses have testified that she suffered at least two convulsions, during which she seemed to lose consciousness. The state alleges that in the early hours of the morning, McLaggan returned to her room and raped her. He has pleaded not guilty and claims in his plea statement that he returned to her room to “check up on her” and that they then had consensual sex.

However, McLaggan may be called upon to explain to the court why, after the incident, he indicated in a written statement that there was no sexual contact between them at all.

In the written statement which McLaggan gave South African manager of international travel company Worldwide Experience, Quinton Gillson – who was both his boss and his brother-in-law – he said all he had done was help the inebriated teenager to her room. He described how he had assisted her during her convulsions.

He is not contesting the fact that genetic material found on the girl’s sheets has been linked to him.

Britain-based paediatric endocrinologist Dr Helen Spoudeas will give evidence via a video link tomorrow, because she could not travel to South Africa for the trial.

Senior state prosecutor Advocate Nickie Turner last week indicated she wished to call Dr Spoudeas – who is familiar with the young woman’s medical history – to explain what might have caused her convulsions while under the influence of alcohol.

It emerged in court last week that the quietly spoken woman had lived with a brain tumour for most of her life.

McLaggan’s counsel, Advocate Terry Price, contested her application to have the evidence heard, accusing Turner of conducting “prosecution by ambush”.

He questioned the relevance of Dr Spoudeas’s evidence and said the prosecution had given no hint that she might be called.

“It means we may now have to consult our own medical expert and this is going to cause endless delays,” Price said.

Judge Glenn Goosen granted the application for the video testimony, but indicated that it would be on strictly limited terms. The hearing continues tomorrow.

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