Evidence in principal’s rape case ‘improbable’
Durban - Evidence in the trial of a South Coast principal accused of raping and sexually assaulting some of his pupils was so “extremely improbable” it bordered on the impossible.
This was the argument of attorney Anand Nepaul, representing Desmond Makhanya, in the trial in camera in the Scottburgh Regional Court in which Makhanya is facing 10 counts involving five complainants.
Makhanya pleaded not guilty, claiming it was all lies and he was being falsely implicated because of internal politics at the school.
Nepaul argued this week that Makhanya must be acquitted.
According to Nepaul’s heads of argument submitted to the court, only two of the five complainants had testified.
They were single, child witnesses and the cautionary rule had to be applied.
One had also previously accused her own father of rape. He had been acquitted of the charge.
Nepaul had the most criticism for Dr VB Mahommed who examined the main complainant – who alleged four rapes and one sexual assault – and concluded there had been “possible penetration”.
But in cross-examination she could not dispute the findings of a defence expert that the complainant was “a textbook virgin”, and that alleged tears could have been caused by tampons.
“She was an appalling witness,” the lawyer said.
“The accused was prosecuted on the gossamer thread of her unfounded and illogical conclusion of possible penetration.”
He said one would have expected more diligence in a case involving such serious charges and when an accused faced possible life imprisonment.
He said she had maintained her “charade” until cross-examination when all incriminating evidence was contradicted by her or, alternatively, withdrawn by her.
He asked that the magistrate report the doctor to both her employer and regulatory body for investigation.
Makhanya did not testify, and the defence called only one witness, Dr Reggie Perumal, whose evidence, Nepaul said, was not challenged.
Referring to the various alleged incidents of sexual assault and rape on the main complainant, Perumal said one would have expected to find injuries which were not present.
Magistrate V Dube said that she would give judgment on May 6.
Makhanya is out on bail, but spent eight months in prison after his arrest in November 2012.
He was dismissed from his job during this time.
Nepaul said an arbitration hearing for his reinstatement had been stalled until after the conclusion of the criminal trial.