There was singing and chanting of “rot in jail” outside the Verulam Family Court on Friday as the man accused of raping his stepdaughter about 900 times over a five-year period was denied bail.
The 43-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the child, is accused of using his stepdaughter as a sex slave since she was five years old. She is now 10.
Bail would have been an unlikely outcome since the man is facing a schedule six offence. Only if his lawyer proved “exceptional circumstances” would he have been released pending the trial.
The suspect’s lawyer, Mondli Mthethwa, reminded the court they had a legal duty to regard his client as innocent until proven guilty, eNCA has reported.
This wasn’t enough to get the man bail, with the judge taking into account the severity of the man’s alleged crimes, which include rape, sexual grooming, exposure of a child to pornography and sexual assault.
The man is from Johannesburg, but moved to Verulam, which is about 30km away from Durban, six months ago with the child, whose mother and father are both dead.
The case was first brought to the police’s attention after 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.
– Additional reporting by African News Agency