Bail granted for gang rape accused
Four minors accused of gang raping a 17-year-old mentally impaired Soweto girl were granted bail by the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.
“They did get bail of R500 each and they were placed under house arrest. They will change communities ... They are just going to move for their own safety,” state advocate Carina Coetzee told reporters outside court.
“The charges that the state had put against them for the purposes of this application had not included rape. It was other offences under the Sexual Offences Act.”
Coetzee said the charges included paying a teenager for sexual intercourse, using children for child pornography, and possession, creation and distribution of child pornography.
“We will discuss it as the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and decide what charges we are going to prefer but in all fairness to them we have put the minimum we have against them,” she said.
Held in camera
The bail applications by youths, one aged 13 and three aged 17, began on Thursday morning and were held in camera.
The four boys and three men, who matched the descriptions of rapists shown in a cellphone video of the attack, were arrested in Dobsonville, Soweto on April 17. The video spread on April 18.
The NPA announced at a previous court appearance that three of the four youths would face full prosecution.
“All the accused persons, including the three minors, will appear in court together. They will not be diverted [to a programme for young offenders],” NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said at an earlier court appearance.
“In respect of the fourth minor, the 13-year-old, we still have to determine his criminal capacity. Remember, between the ages of seven and 14 they are presumed to be criminally incapable.”
The seven faced preliminary charges of rape, sexual assault, engaging the sexual services of a minor for reward, using a minor to create child pornography, committing a sexual act in the presence of a minor, committing a sexual act in the presence of an adult, and creating, possessing and distributing child pornography.
The case against the three men, one aged 18 and two aged 19, has been postponed until June 20 for further investigation. The men did not apply for bail.
The three 17-year-olds would appear in court on June 20 with the adults.
The report on the 13-year-old boy’s criminal capacity was not available, Coetzee said. The boy’s lawyer William Karam said it would take a month to compile.
“The youngster will be coming back on May 17 not for the report, simply to see where we at,” said Karam.
Unlike the previous court appearances, there were no protesters outside the building on Thursday.—Sapa