The high court sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on Monday acquitted former Parktown Boys High School water polo coach Collan Rex of some of the charges against him of attempted murder, sexual assault, assault, and exposing a child to pornography.
“I have considered the submissions by both the state and the defence, he is found not guilty and not charged,” Judge Peet Johnson said while handing down his judgement on an application.
The charges that Rex was acquitted of involved a number of boys who did not testify. Rex has already pleaded guilty to 144 sexual assault charges involving 12 boys.
Defence lawyer William Robertse made an application that there was no evidence to prosecute Rex against the rape, attempted murder, assault, and further sexual assault charges.
Robertse argued: “The accused has been charged with 110 attempted murder charges and plaintiffs contradicted the state’s case that the accused attempted to murder them. He should be acquitted on those charges. The state has failed to prove with reasonable doubt that the accused committed rape.”
Robertse went on to say that grabbing a man’s nipples was not considered sexual assault and that Rex should be acquitted of the charges of exposing a child to pornography. He added that 50 Shades of Grey was not considered a pornographic film in South Africa.
He submitted that Rex be acquitted of all the charges that the state did not call witnesses for.
State prosecutor Arveena Persad argued that the court had to look at all the evidence that had been submitted to the court and that many of the victims were also witnesses of Rex’s actions. She added that Rex had already admitted to some of the charges.
Judge Peet Johnson asked Persad whether Rex wanted to kill the boys that he strangled because he never continued to strangle them after they passed out or tapped out.
The state further submitted that all their witnesses had been credible as well as that it was traumatic for a child to testify about oral sex being forced on him.
“I’m questioning going to make a statement to the police, then not mentioning it in court,” Johnson countered.
Johnson said he had an issue with the children not being able to say the exact number of times that they were strangled by Rex. He said it was not convincing that the boys estimated the number of times that they were strangled and said it that it would be hard to find Rex guilty of an estimated amount of attempted murder charges.