19 October 2006, 14:47
A man who was present when three men attacked and raped two women has been convicted on an array of charges, including robbery with aggravating circumstances and attempted murder.
The man was tried under the name of Jacob Casper, but is in fact Ismail Cassim.
Although he didn't rape the women, Cassim was on Wednesday convicted as being an accessory to rape as he had done nothing to assist the women, one of whom was a teenager.
One of his fellow gang members fled to Mozambique and will be tried there. Another was shot dead by the police in Mozambique, while another man is still on the run.
The Grasmere toll plaza incident made headlines in 2004. The Randburg family were going on holiday on March 31 2004 when they were forced off the road. Four men in a Toyota Camry fired shots at their vehicle.
The man was dragged out of the car while the women were forced into the boot of the Camry. One of the gang members told the man to run and several shots were fired at him.
The car then took off with the women. It stopped at nearby veld, where the women were ordered to climb out. The older woman was raped by two of the men on the front seat of the car, while the teenager was raped on the back seat.
Cassim, meanwhile, sat in the hijacked bakkie a few metres away. The men then told the women to run away. They managed to stop a police car, and the husband had also managed to call the police. When a police car picked him up along the road, his wife and niece were already in the vehicle.
Cassim pleaded not guilty to the charges, but he was connected to some of the loot. He also made a statement pointing out the crime scene.
He tried not to have the statement admitted as evidence, first claiming that he didn't understand the language spoken to him at the time. He later also claimed he had been severely assaulted. His complaints were rejected.
The state asked that he too be convicted of the rapes on the doctrine of common purpose. But Cassim said a person could be convicted on this charge only if his own body was used to commit the act. He was instead convicted of being an accomplice to the rapes.
He will be sentenced on Monday.
Source:The Sunday Independent