Kimberley - The 24-year-old Galeshewe man, charged with the rape of his six-week-old niece, has been sent for psychiatric evaluation at the West End Mental Hospital.
He appeared in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.
The man, who continuously rubbed his eyes and glanced briefly at the crowd packed in the gallery, listened as senior prosecutor Tebogo Namisa addressed the court.
“The accused is appearing for a formal bail application and has no defence because he opted to represent himself on the charges of rape and attempted murder,” Namisa said.
He pointed out that the accused had been a patient at the West End Mental Hospital, where he was sent for psychiatric evaluation, from January to April this year.
“According to the investigating officer, who went to the hospital to obtain the psychological report, no report had been compiled at the time.”
Namisa added that in the interests of justice, the State could not continue with the bail application until a report had been received from the hospital.
“We plead with the court to postpone the case while we wait for a report from the hospital to give us direction so that we can make a decision that is in the best interests of all parties concerned.”
Namisa also pointed out that the investigating officer would inform the hospital of the urgency of the matter to ensure that the required report would be made available as speedily as possible.
Magistrate Khubashnie Padayachee adjourned the court to enable the State to call the hospital and make an appointment with the doctor.
A few minutes later, Namisa came back and the accused was brought back into the witness box.
Namisa asked that the case be postponed until January 8 2014 for the medical report, which, he pointed out, would direct the bail application process.
The uncle of the baby will remain in police custody until then.
The six-week-old baby, born on October 17, was raped, allegedly by her uncle, at their family home in Galeshewe on November 27.
The baby underwent an emergency operation to repair tissue damage inflicted during the rape and spent several days in the intensive care unit of the Kimberley Hospital, before being transferred to Bloemfontein, where a colostomy bag was fitted.
The baby was discharged from hospital and returned home on Monday this week. It is expected that she will require several further surgeries in the coming months.
The grandmother who was among those in court on Thursday said she pleaded with the National Commissioner of Police, General Riah Phiyega, during the prayer service held shortly after the rape, that her son not be released on bail.
“Instead they must keep him locked up far away in Johannesburg or Cape Town.
“If he is released the community will kill him because they have already said he is not welcome back in Galeshewe.”
She added that the family also feared that if he was released, he would harm them. “Look at what he has already done. Please, don’t let him get bail.”
The elderly woman added that she would also not allow him back into her home.
“He is no longer part of our family. He is not welcome here. We are still trying to deal with the trauma and humiliation he has brought on us.”
She added that her son was smart and she was not surprised that he wanted to defend himself.
“All I pray and ask God is that he acknowledges what he has done and asks for forgiveness.”
The sister of the boy’s father, who travelled from Pampierstad to support the family, said they were torn apart by what had happened.
“This boy and the mother of the baby are both children of the same family.
“We are shocked at what happened but we are worried about both of them. What is going to happen?”
She added that the baby was discharged from hospital in Bloemfontein earlier this week and was doing fine, although she said the colostomy bag appeared uncomfortable and the child cried often.
“The mother of the baby is withdrawn. Sometimes when she changes the nappy, she stares into space and then just bursts into tears. She is also not eating properly and has flashbacks of the ordeal.”
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