Case postponed of man claiming rape in prison

Frustration was evident on the face of a young awaiting-trial prisoner as the assault case against him was postponed again in the East London Magistrate’s Court yesterday for a Director of Public Prosecutions’ (DPP) decision.

The 22-year-old Mooiplaas man arrived in court shortly before 9am from the West Bank prison where he is being held.

He was last in court on July 31 and the case was postponed to yesterday for a DPP decision.

The name of the accused was only called after 3pm by state prosecutor Asanda Nolusu who then announced to presiding magistrate Rochelle Sam that the DPP had not yet decided on whether or not to prosecute him.

He was remanded in custody until October 20 for the DPP’s decision.

The young prisoner made headlines last month when he begged an East London magistrate to release him on bail, claiming he had repeatedly been sodomised by other inmates at the maximum security prison.

The prisoner has been in custody for six months now. He was arrested for allegedly beating a 20-year-old woman and attempting to rape her in Mooiplaas in March.

He nervously begged to go home on July 31 due to alleged constant sexual abuse at the hands of other inmates. To date he has made 10 court appearances.

He cannot be named as he is an alleged victim of a sexual crime and also because he has not yet pleaded to the sexual offence he is accused of.

The youth appeared before bail court magistrate Nazeem Joemath in July after launching an urgent bail application based on new facts. He was represented in court by Legal Aid South Africa attorney Zolisa Maqhina.

Joemath wanted to ascertain what the new facts were as his court had already dealt with the bail application in March.

Clutching his hat, the slim man got up and spoke nervously.

“When I came into prison I was OK. I now fear that I will leave the prison in poor health,” he said at the time.

Joemath then asked the prisoner’s attorney to ascertain what the problem was.

After a brief moment Maqhina returned to his desk, scribbled a note read: “He is alleging that he has been raped on two occasions.”

After reading the note Joemath told the prisoner he needed to follow procedure to address his concern.

“You need to go report this issue with centre management and then see a doctor. For now your matter is postponed to September 7 for further investigation,” Joemath said.

The Daily Dispatch understands that Legal Aid has written to the head of West Bank prison asking that the prisoner be taken for medical tests. If found to have contracted a sexually transmitted disease, Legal Aid will forward a bail application on new facts.

The court yesterday did not deal with the prisoner’s complaints and alleged abuse. — zwangam@dispatch

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