In The News South Africa

Bail decision expected for ‘sex slave’ Verulam stepfather

JOHANNESBURG, July 6 –  The Verulam man accused of raping his stepdaughter more than 900 times over a period of five-years will hear if he is to be granted bail by the Verulam Family Court on Friday.

The 43-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the child, allegedly used his stepdaughter as a sex slave since the child was five-years-old. The child, who is now 10, is currently in a place of safety.

Because he is facing a schedule six offence, the onus was on the man’s lawyer to prove “exceptional circumstances” as to why he should be released on bail.

Lawyer Mondli Mthethwa, for the man, told the court that the man had to enjoy the presumption of innocence before he was tried.

Besides rape, the man is also being charged with sexual grooming, exposure of a child to pornography and sexual assault. He is alleged to have moved to Verulam – about 30km inland of Durban – from Johannesburg six months ago with the child, where she was last schooled. The girl’s biological mother and father are both dead.

The case was brought to the police’s attention when the girl was beaten and chased out of the room she was sharing with her stepfather. She approached a neighbour and relayed the alleged abuse she had suffered.

Mthethwa said the State had argued that his client may interfere with witnesses, but had not said that this was a certainty. He said that any claims of witness intimidation were made via the investigating officer and did not come from an actual witness.

Because the only witness to the alleged offences was the child, there would be no one to corroborate her claims, said Mthethwa. He said the State had failed to provide any evidence showing the child had been raped.

State prosecutor, advocate San Bhartu, said the man was a flight risk as he had no fixed assets, family ties in the area or positive identification. (ANA)

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