#DrosRape: Accused sent to Weskoppies for ‘observation’

(Gemma Ritchie/M&G)

(Gemma Ritchie/M&G)

The man accused of raping a seven-year-old at a popular steakhouse in Pretoria will be sent for medical observation at Weskoppies psychiatric hospital where he will be observed by three psychiatrists and a clinical psychologist.

This decision by presiding Magistrate Thandi Thelede was made in the “interests of justice” in the matter of the State vs Nicholas Ninow.

The case has been postponed until November 28.

The accused — who was found naked in a toilet of the Dros restaurant in Silverton with a seven-year-old girl in late September — made his third appearance at the Pretoria magistrate’s court on Thursday.

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

Though both state and defence lawyers agreed he should go for medical observation, the state disagreed with appointing three psychiatrists to observe him.

Typically, only two psychiatrists would observe the accused and make recommendations to a panel.

Defence lawyer Riaan du Plessis from Legal Aid asked that the state provide a third psychiatrist as the matter was serious, complex and of national interest.

“The matter is so serious that the media asked permission to take pictures before and after the court appearance,” said Du Plessis.

“The community are very interested in what is happening.
We should not err on the side of expediency,” Du Plessis added. “This is why I ask for the further psychiatrist to be appointed. If the matter goes to trial. The girl child will have to testify in a closed circuit court.”

Attorneys representing the child were present at Thursday’s proceedings.

The call for a third psychiatrist was debated with Sanet Jacobson, the lawyer representing the state, with Du Plessis saying that Legal Aid did not have the financial capacity to cover the cost. However, he reiterated the importance of a third psychologist emphasizing the accused’s history of mental illness.

The accused had started abusing substances at the age of 13 and had received treatment, said Du Plessis. He told the court that the accused was diagnosed as having a bipolar disorder in January 2013 and had a history of self-destructive behaviour.

Although DNA evidence has been received by the court, the state told Magistrate Thelede that it was waiting for further statements and the investigation of a white substance found on the accused at the time of his arrest.

The case received national attention after a social media post went viral the week the accused was arrested of a man screaming at people to “f***k off” after he was found naked in a toilet of the restaurant with the child.

The accused has been provisionally charged with rape, possession of drugs, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and intimidation. He is yet to plead.

Gemma Ritchie

Gemma Ritchie

Gemma Ritchie works in the Mail & Guardian's online department. She majored in English Literature at a small liberal arts college in the USA.  Read more from Gemma Ritchie

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