Dros restaurant child rape accused to be assessed at Weskoppies to determine fitness for trial

The man accused of raping a seven-year-old leaves the court room in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on November 1 2018.
The man accused of raping a seven-year-old leaves the court room in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on November 1 2018.
Image: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times

The 20-year-old man accused of raping a seven-year-old girl in the bathroom of a Pretoria restaurant has been ordered to undergo a 30-day mental evaluation.

He appeared briefly in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday where the court ordered that he should undergo a mental evaluation in a bid to determine whether he has the capacity to understand court proceedings.

The evaluation also aims to determine whether he was of sound mind when he allegedly committed the crime at a Dros restaurant in September 2018.

Prosecutor Sanet Jacobson told the court that a bed had been made available at Weskoppies psychiatric hospital and this would allow the suspect to undergo mental observation.

Jacobson requested the matter to be postponed to February 8 when the state expects his observation to be concluded.

"The matter was postponed to today to allow for a bed to be available and it has been made available. He will be evaluated by a team of three psychiatrists and one psychologist," Jacobson said.

The suspect allegedly followed the seven-year-old child to a bathroom and raped her.

A video, taken moments after the alleged incident, showed a man covered in blood and angry patrons berating him.

During his previous court appearance on November 1, the court granted an application brought by the state and the defence to have the accused referred for mental observation.

Additionally, the court granted an application by the defence to appoint an additional psychiatrist and clinical psychologist, making up a team of four experts who will observe the accused while he is in Weskoppies, a government psychiatric institution.

Legal aid lawyer Riaan du Plessis, for the accused, told the court that there was a need to explore the mental state of the accused at the time of the alleged incident.

He said that the accused was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2013 and had been using drugs since he was 14. It was put on record that the accused had previously undergone rehabilitation for substance abuse.

"He also tried to commit suicide because of the severe depression brought on by bipolar," said Du Plessis.