Courtroom rejoices as Dros rape accused goes back to prison
20-year-old man accused of raping seven-year-old girl says he was 'injured' during arrest
Protesters, political parties and human rights organisations gathered in front of the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court, where a 20-year-old man accused of raping a child at a Dros restaurant appeared.
The crowd in the packed courtroom erupted and cheered when they heard the news: The alleged Dros rapist is not applying for bail and will return to prison.
The 20-year-old man accused of raping a seven-year-old girl in a restaurant in Silverton‚ Pretoria‚ was visibly nervous – biting his lip and staring in front of him - during the court proceedings.
He wore a dark grey sweater‚ black jeans‚ white socks and orange flip flops while the court first heard an application by Netwerk24 to allow the media to take photographs before and after court proceedings.
Magistrate Marley Mokoena granted the application for still photographs‚ but allowed no filming.
The accused was returned to the holding cells‚ but returned after the adjournment with a changed outfit‚ this time emerging in a light grey hoodie. His eyes were glued to the floor as he covered his face.
Mokoena postponed the case to November 1.
The state asked for the postponement for further investigation‚ to launch an application to obtain the suspect’s cellphone for “forensic downloading” and outstanding DNA evidence.
“At this stage his grandmother indicated that he [the accused] does have a cellphone and he [the accused] knows where it is‚” state prosecutor Sanet Jacobson said.
According to Netwerk24‚ one reason why the accused is not applying for bail is because he was living with his grandmother‚ who has cut ties with him. She is reportedly not willing to provide her home address for his bail application.
Legal Aid attorney Riaan du Plessis‚ representing the 20-year-old‚ said that if the state wanted to obtain the man’s cellphone‚ they must apply to do so.
“It is the accused’s private property and he has the right against self-incrimination and providing [the] cellphone‚ and just making an order without a proper application from the state does not mean it should be granted. It is my submission that it will lead to an unfair trial‚ because the accused has the right against self-incrimination‚” Du Plessis said.
“It is my instruction from the accused that he does not want to help the state regarding these issues at this stage.”
Elaborating on the accused’s injuries‚ Du Plessis claimed that police officers at the Silverton police station had instructed the accused to do push-ups‚ before kicking him.
“There are other instances of assault‚ which the accused also reported‚ that is that he was hit with open hands and with belts.”
Du Plessis said the accused had sustained some injuries when customers at the Dros had hit him on the head with a broken beer bottle after he was caught. His injuries included a cut to his right ear‚ resulting in four stitches‚ two cuts to his forehead of about 15cm each‚ and a bloodshot left eye.
Huisgenoot reportedly spoke to a family member of the victim‚ who said the little girl was doing “well”.
“She is still a child and she is getting all the support that she needs. She has doctors and paramedics that looked after her and are still taking care of her‚” the family member was quoted as saying.
Children carrying placards reading “No bail for rape and murder” and “Don’t hurt us” joined scores of people at the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court.
Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga was also at the court‚ where political parties and onlookers had gathered in large numbers. Roads around the court were closed and there was a heavy police presence.
Msimanga‚ who met with the family of the victim‚ said they were “taking it very‚ very hard”. Msimanga said he had met with the family on Monday to offer support. The mother had not been available for the meeting.
“We will continue to offer whatever support they need from us in this particular time. The engagement was very heartbreaking‚ because you have an innocent child that doesn’t know what is happening around them‚” he said. “You feel a sense of wanting to do more but you don’t know what more you can do.”
He said that when he had engaged with the police‚ he was told that there were signs that a rape had occurred at the restaurant.
Different political parties‚ civic organisations and others joined hands outside the court in a show of solidarity against rape. Bikers against Child Abuse were also in attendance. The streets outside court echoed with the revving sound of motorcycles.
The suspect stands accused of raping a seven-year-old girl in the bathroom of a Dros restaurant in Pretoria. He made his first appearance in court last Tuesday after the incident‚ which took place on September 22. The case was postponed for seven days for further investigation.
He faces a charge of rape‚ possession of drugs‚ intimidation and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. The accused was found with a substance that looked like cocaine. It has been sent for forensic testing. The assault charges relate to the accused allegedly hitting at waiters with a belt after he was caught.
The man allegedly watched the little girl in the restaurant play area and later followed her to the bathroom.
According to patrons‚ the mother of the child went looking for her after she noticed she was not in the play area. She allegedly caught her daughter’s attacker in the act.
A video‚ purportedly taken moments after the rape ordeal‚ depicted a naked man who was partly covered in blood. The government has called on people not to share the “disturbing” video.