JOHANNESBURG, September 14 – The High Court sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on Friday, found former Parktown Boys water polo assistant coach, Collan Rex, guilty of 12 counts of assault and 144 counts of sexual assault.
Judge Peet Johnson said that Rex was an open witness and accepted responsibility for his conduct.
Rex admitted to 144 charges of sexual assault. He was found not guilty of rape, attempted murder, sexual grooming and exposing a child to pornography.
While reading his judgment, Johnson said he found it improbable that Rex could have penetrated the anus of one of the teenagers through his pants and a costume.
Johnson said it was improbable that someone could be raped in front of many people on a bus.
“One of the requirements for attempt murder is the attempt to kill. One has to look at the sounding circumstances, there are different forms of intent.”
Johnson said that Rex told the boys to “tap-out” and would release them when he saw that they could not cope.
“The court is not satisfied that the State proved that the accused attempted to kill the complainants.”
He said that Rex intentionally assaulted the boys but the State failed to prove how many times.
During closing arguments, Prosecutor Arveena Persad said the remaining counts that Rex did not admit to were what were in dispute.
She read through the evidence that was submitted by the witnesses which included the testimonies of 17-year-old boys that were allegedly assaulted physically and sexually by Rex.
“Sexual offences are difficult to speak about, it is easier to keep quiet because of the trauma the victim goes through,” Persad said.
The States 18th witness was the a teacher and boarding house director, Christian Bossert, who was the one who saw Rex touching a boy on the schools CCTV footage and reported it to authorities.
Bossert said that he saw Rex forcing his hands down the pants of a learner before going into a dorm room with him. He said that prompted him to notify the school heads as well as the police.
Persad said that as much as Rex said he did not intend to kill two of the boys who passed out when he strangled them, he foresaw the possibility of death which was why the State felt he was guilty of attempted murder.
“None of the witnesses contradicted themselves or gave evidence that wasn’t credible.”
Defence lawyer William Robertse later argued that every complainant stated that the he did not think that Rex tried to kill them.
“This on it’s own puts an end to the State’s attempted murder charges,” he said.
Robertse said all the complainants failed to say how many times Rex allegedly attempted to kill them and only gave estimations.
“The complaints contradict the State’s indictment.”
He said that when it came to the alleged rape incident, as much as rape was rife in women and children there were cases where an accused was acquitted because the complainant had lied.
Robertse said the boy chose not to report the incident despite two teachers being present on the bus.
He said the boy telling his 19-year-old sister about the rape incident was a contradiction of the code of silence that the boys claimed was at the school.
Robertse added that the boy said that Rex stuck his fingers in his buttocks, which he said was not the same as putting his fingers in his anus.
“The State has failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused indeed raped the complainant,” Robertse said.
“The evidence of the state can not be relied upon and the accused should be found not guilty for all the charges.”
After the court proceedings, Gauteng Education member of the executive council (MEC) Panyaza Lesufi thanked children who testified and the parents who supported them.
“Mixed emotions but relieved that we got a guilty verdict. It’s still a huge pain that we subjected our children through this pain,” Lesufi said following proceedings.
He said he was on the parents side and he would not behaved differently if it was his child involved.
Some parents seemed disgruntled following proceedings.
Pre-sentencing proceedings are expected to start on Monday. (ANA)