Sunday, 15 November 2009

Rape victim 'threatened'

November 13 2009 at 07:35AM

By Graeme Hosken
Crime Reporter

The battle for justice for a Pretoria woman allegedly raped by a Rustenburg policeman hit another hurdle yesterday when a State prosecutor apparently refused to place the matter on the court roll.

The case has been mired in controversy with first police, and now the justice system, being accused of dragging their feet in the saga.

Four policemen, three of whom apparently sat in an office and ignored the woman's screams for help when she was allegedly raped in the bathroom of the Rustenburg police station, have repeatedly refused to attend an identity parade.
'It is simply one disaster after another in this never-ending circus'

This week's refusal saw the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) turning to the courts yesterday to obtain an order to compel the suspects to stand in a line-up.

The latest drama took place at the Rustenburg Magistrate's Court yesterday when the State prosecutor apparently refused to place the matter on the court roll.

The refusal came shortly after court security staff and police searched the court building for nearly 30 minutes for a Pretoria News team which had earlier taken photographs of the suspects being delivered to the courthouse with escorts from the police and the ICD.

The suspects are believed to have tried repeatedly to delay their arrival at court yesterday by making various demands, which are believed to have included a demand for a new legal representation.

ICD spokesman Moses Dlamini said that what had happened at court was shocking.

"We have never come across this kind of obstruction before in any of our investigations."

Dlamini said that when the prosecutor refused to place the matter on the roll, their office contacted the North West Director of Public Prosecutions to demand answers.

"We have been assured and are hoping against hope that the four suspects, who are still in custody, will in fact appear in the identity parade today.

"If they fail to stand in the identity parade today and refuse to co-operate with our investigators, they will continue to be remanded in custody and taken to court once again where we will obtain a court order to compel them to stand in the line-up," he said.

Delia de Vries, who is representing the woman who was allegedly raped by the policeman, said the non-placement of the case on the court roll was yet another disaster in the saga.

"It is simply one disaster after another in this never-ending circus.

"We are told that the suspects were arrested, but we have no idea whether they have been or not and have yet to see the charge sheet.

"We are demanding answers and we want to know how suspects in an alleged rape case, who are under arrest, do not appear in court.

"The purpose of their arrest and their appearance in court today (yesterday) was to get a court order to make them appear before an identity parade.

"But, because they did not appear before a magistrate and if they refuse to appear in any future identity parade, they cannot be held in contempt of court," she said.

De Vries said: "I do not know who is in with whom, but this whole thing is becoming very suspicious."

What appalled her most was the "droves of support" the officers were getting compared to the lack of support her client was receiving.

"There were dozens of off-duty policemen who were at the court to support the suspects.

"Added to this and the death threats my client has received is that every morning an unmarked white car, which has no registration plate, is parked outside her house which we believe is part of the continuous intimidation tactics being used against her.

"We are not going to rest until someone takes responsibility for this even if it means going to a ministerial level," she said.

This article was originally published on page 1 of Pretoria News on November 13, 2009


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