‘Dros rapist’: No bail application, pictures can be taken in court

There will be no bail application for the accused in the Dros rape case and the accused may be photographed as the court is alive to “freedom of expression and a free trial”. However, this comes with conditions.

The accused will remain in police custody until his next court appearance on November 1.

Magistrate Mali Mokwena ruled that the media may take still photographs 15 minutes before and 15 minutes after court proceedings.

The accused, who has been provisionally charged with rape, possession of drugs, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and intimidation, appeared in the Pretoria magistrate’s court on Tuesday with a grey hoodie covering his head.

His appearance follows a social media post that went viral last week Saturday of a man screaming at people to “F***k off” after he was found naked in a toilet of the Dros restaurant in Silverton, Pretoria with a little girl.

Although the accused’s name has been made public over several social media posts and some newspaper headlines, including his image, the Mail & Guardian has chosen not to use his name as he has not formally pleaded.

The state, represented by Advocate Senette Jacobson, has asked for the accused’s cellphone as they believe it contains substantial evidence.

The defence, represented by Legal Aid’s Riaan du Plessis argued that the state should not have access to the accused phone as it is “unconstitutional”.

“The accused has the right against self-incrimination,” said Du Plessis. He said the accused did not want to help the state at this stage but could possibly in the future. Du Plessis added that he had not had time to consult his client with regards to this matter.

Du Plessis also put on record the injuries that the accused sustained preceding and during his apprehension into police custody. Using the accused’s medical records, Du Plessis said he sustained four injuries which can be found on top of his head, neck, ear and eye.

According to Du Plessis, the fourth injury to the left eye “was sustained while incarcerated in the Silverton Police Station”. The other three were sustained at the restaurant.

After the accused was instructed to do push-ups in the police station, Du Plessis explained that the “accused said he was kicked by a police officer in his left eye”.

During the incident in the restaurant, the accused sustained injuries to his right earlobe, there were two 15 cm long cuts on his head and a laceration to his neck which began below his right ear. According to Du Plessis, the injuries were made by broken bottles.

The application to photograph the court proceedings was brought by advocate Willem de Klerk on behalf of Netwerk 24. De Klerk asked for permission to photograph the accused before and after the proceedings, explaining that the public has a right to know what happens during court proceedings. The court granted the application, even though Du Plessis had argued that it was detrimental for the accused to be photographed during court proceedings as it would hinder his right to a fair trial.

When the accused was brought out a second time, following the granting of the application by Netwerk 24, Du Plessis said it was “a parade of the accused in front of the public”, adding “it is my submission that it [parading the accused in front of the public] is inhumane.”

For the state, Jacobson said that the application not to take pictures or to publish images of the accused would be “redundant”, though Jacobson said the state did not condone the initial publications.

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