Cape Town - A man accused of raping a nine-year-old girl and then setting her alight did not get his chance to apply for bail in the Bellville District Court, Cape Town, on Tuesday.
The 27-year-old, who may not be named until he pleads to the charges, will return to court on Wednesday.
He was arrested on January 19. Initially, he faced charges of abduction, sexual assault, rape, and attempted murder.
Because the victim died in hospital from her burns on March 18, the attempted murder charge was changed to murder.
When he appeared on Tuesday morning, the matter had to stand down because the investigating officer had not brought the docket from the director of public prosecutions' office in Cape Town. The docket was eventually brought to court at 2.30pm.
The man's Legal Aid lawyer Neesha Salie said this left her no time to peruse the docket before arguing for bail.
As the offences were schedule six in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act, she had to argue exceptional and compelling circumstances existed to justify his release.
Salie claimed the State had refused her previous requests for more information on the case against her client.
She applied to Magistrate Fezile Fani for further particulars.
“It is intolerable that the State might adopt a purely passive role in the confidence that the accused will not discharge his onus to prove exceptional circumstances exist.”
Salie said she needed to see how strong the State's case was, especially as it alleged he was linked to the offences by DNA.
Prosecutor Clifford Moatlhodi said the defence's application took him by surprise.
Fani postponed the matter to allow the defence to look at the docket and for the bail application to proceed.
The man was being held at Goodwood prison. He previously complained of being assaulted. For his safety, the court ordered him to be kept in solitary confinement and under medical observation.
His face still bore a number of fresh scars from the assault.