PORT ELIZABETH, March 27 – The case against a 19-year-old Blue Bulls rugby player, charged with rape and robbery, was postponed in the New Brighton Magistrate’s Court in the Eastern Cape on Tuesday, pending a decision from the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Tsepo Ndwalaza said that this was standard procedure in which the NPA would decide whether or not to prosecute the rugby player on charges of rape and robbery.
The former Grey High School pupil, who cannot be named until he has formally pleaded, is facing charges after an 18-year-old woman opened a case against him in December last year. The alleged incident happened after a night out in KwaMagxasi in Port Elizabeth.
He was at court on Tuesday, supported by a host of family members. The rugby player, who was released on bail of R10,000 last month, intends to plead not guilty to the charges and alleges that the woman’s motive for opening a case against him was as a result of her stealing his wallet and cellphone.
He previously claimed that the pair did have sex, but that it was consensual.
According to the State, it was the defence’s submission during the bail hearing that the woman had consumed alcohol on the night of December 27, 2017, with the State charging that she was raped early the next morning. The State believes that the woman could not have consented to sexual intercourse if she was under the influence of alcohol. The State further contends that on the night of the alleged incident, the complainant and the player had attended a party at a flat in Central.
The woman’s statement to police details that the player and another person drove the woman home. At some stage the athlete needed to relieve himself. When the car stopped the woman decided to walk home, she claimed that the rugby player came from behind, tripped and dragged her into the bushes where he raped her.
However, the defence said it was in possession of a voice recording where the woman could be heard saying that she got out of the vehicle herself and walked home and there was no mention in these recordings that she was dragged.
The defence believes that if the matter goes to trial, the woman will be confronted with material contradictions. According to evidence before court, in the hours before the alleged attack, witnesses had seen the woman kissing, hugging and fondling the athlete. They also noted that the woman had consumed alcohol and substantial amounts of cannabis.
The case was postponed until May 10 for further investigation.