JOHANNESBURG, July 5 – The bail hearing of a 43-year-old man — facing 900 counts of rape after he allegedly held his stepdaughter as a sex slave — is expected to continue in the Verulam Family Court on Thursday.
The alleged rapes started when the child was five-years-old.
At his bail hearing on Tuesday, the court heard that the man — who cannot be named to protect the identity of the 10-year-old child — is also being charged with sexual grooming, exposure of a child to pornography and sexual assault.
The man is alleged to have moved to Verulam — about 30km inland of Durban — from Johannesburg six months ago with the child. The girl’s biological mother and father are both dead.
The court heard that the case was brought to the police’s attention when the girl was beaten and chased out of the room she was sharing with her stepfather. She approached a neighbour and relayed the alleged abuse she had suffered.
“Vibrators were confiscated, DVDs, dildos…from the accused,” investigating officer Nevarge Lutchminarain told the court. The suspect allegedly used the sex toys on the young girl.
Lutchminarain further told Magistrate Irfaan Khalil that he believed the accused was a flight risk and should be denied bail because he had no fixed address or identity documents.
He also believed that incarceration would ensure the safety of the accused, who had been threatened with violence by some community members.
It was also revealed that the man had previous convictions for assault and malicious damage to property.
Appearing for the stepfather, lawyer Mondli Mthethwa said that his client had two previous assault convictions and had “paid fines” in both cases.
In his affidavit, read into court records by Mthethwa, the man said he believed the case against him had been “fabricated”.
“There is no DNA evidence, there is no interview that has been conducted by the State to establish whether [the stepdaughter] is a credible witness and is able to testify.”
According to Lutchminarain, the child was medically examined, with results showing signs of vaginal penetration.
The girl is currently in a place of safety. (ANA)