The lawyer representing one of two Sandton police officers accused of raping a woman in Sunninghill last year is baffled by the court’s decision to postpone the case to April – and not drop the charges.
Kamesh Maharajh, lawyer for one of the accused police sergeants, told the Saturday Star on Friday that DNA tests carried out on rape kits taken from the woman and her sister, who also claimed to be raped, had come out negative.
“My client is very angry that the case has been postponed,” said Maharajh.
“It’s been a huge inconvenience for him and, following all the claims, he has been exposed in the community. My client still remains traumatised by all that has happened.”
Maharajh was keen to stress that the DNA tests had been negative: “The results did not come out inconclusive; they came out negative, so I don’t understand what the hold-up is.”
The two sergeants, who appeared in the Alexandra Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, have been accused of raping a woman in Sunninghill last year. The woman’s sister is claiming to have been raped in a separate incident on the same night.
The sisters had been driving home from an office Christmas party on December 2 when two officers stopped their BMW in Paulshof.
They claim the officers warned them for driving while drunk and ordered the 27-year-old to sleep over at her 24-year-old sister’s home.
It is the State’s case that the older woman dropped off her sister and drove home along Witkoppen Road, where the officers stopped her and allegedly took turns raping her.
Meanwhile, the sister who had been dropped off realised she had left her house keys in her car, which was parked at Montecasino.
While the officers have not been charged with this, the 24-year-old woman said she chased after her sister’s car in a bid to flag her down. It was then that she was also raped – allegedly by police officers.
The officers, aged 28 and 43, have denied involvement in the 27-year-old’s rape but admitted to having stopped her car on the night of the alleged rape.
They said in their affidavits that when they caught up with the driver, she was so drunk she could barely stand up.
Hours after they were allegedly attacked, both sisters had sexual assault evidence collection done at the Olivedale Clinic.
However, the attorney representing the two women said he had doubts about the DNA results: “I believe it’s been botched, especially bearing in mind that the medical report indicates visual evidence,” said Ian Levitt.
Levitt added that the examination report of one of the women had noted that white liquid was found and that she suffered minor swelling around her genitalia.
“There was visual evidence of ‘white liquid’ and both tests (of both sisters) achieved the same result,” he said.
He was not happy with the postponement of the case, but understood that it was part of the process.
“It’s obviously been an extremely difficult time and the sisters, emotionally, are taking it day by day,” he said.
The investigating officer in the case Sergeant Maureen Mkhize said in court this week there was no evidence linking the officers to the crime.
Quizzed by defence lawyers, Mkhize said a tracking device on police cars distanced the two sergeants from the scene of the crime. The car in which the two officers were patrolling was nowhere near the crime scene at the time of the alleged rape.
While the tracking device report indicated the police car had been in the vicinity of Witkoppen Road on that night, it revealed the car had been parked near Sandton police station at the time of the alleged rape.
Asked about the tracking device report, Levitt said he could not comment until he had seen the report.
“I do find it extremely worrying though, that when I requested the satellite reports of all SAPS vehicles on the night in question from the police, they refused to give this to me.”
“One doesn’t need to wonder then why the police have such a dismal success rate of prosecuting rapes in this country, this being only approximately ten percent.”
Magistrate Gideon Schnetler postponed the matter to April 5. - Saturday Star