Sex charged counsellor ‘being singled out’

Pietermaritzburg - The primary school guidance counsellor charged with multiple rapes and sexual assaults of his young male charges, is querying why he is being indicted to the high court, and why investigations against him have not been completed in the three months since his arrest, while he languishes in prison.

The man’s advocate, Brad Osbourne, raised these concerns at the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, where the man appeared via video link from New Prison.

Osbourne said that the matter had been under investigation for three months, and the state still had a number of issues outstanding.

“These issues should really have been attended to within these three months,” Osbourne said.

The Daily News had sight of a letter from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions that indicates that some of these outstanding issues include statements from certain complainants, and a search and seizure of the man’s electronic devices.

Other aspects that the investigating officer needs to ascertain is why his registration with the Health Professionals Council of South Africa was suspended, and why he was not a registered member of the South African Council of Educators (SACE), and whether the school he was employed by was aware of such.

Osbourne submitted on Thursday that it was also unusual that the man was being indicted to the high court, when cases of this nature were regularly heard in the specialised sexual offences court.

“Why is the accused being singled out? This directly impacts on the accused’s right to a fair trial,” Osbourne said.

Osbourne said he had a number of other pressing issues to place on record, and the case was adjourned to ­Monday.

The 32-year-old counsellor, who has a Masters in Psychology from UKZN, is charged with seven counts, which include three of rape and four of sexual assault of learners at the school aged between four and nine years old.

He is in custody after initially being denied bail by Pietermaritzburg Magistrate M. Boikhutso on July 18.