Durban - A senior Hibiscus Coast policeman accused of rape, sexual assault and child pornography offenses claims his various businesses have suffered because of the negative publicity and that he was on the verge of filing for bankruptcy.
The accused, who cannot be named until he pleads to the charges, appeared in the Port Shepstone Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, making a “new fact” application on the basis that he had suffered “irreparable harm” and that the State had a weak case against him.
He has twice failed in his application for bail - first at the Port Shepstone court and later in the Durban High Court - and is hoping the application would secure his release.
The man has several business interests.
In his affidavit, read out by his lawyer, Larry Seethal, on Thursday, the accused said he had suffered “irreparable harm” since his bail was denied.
A municipality had terminated a contract he had secured with them, he had lost another franchise business and a number of lucrative contracts due to media reports.
Moreover, if he did not return to work as a policeman by Sunday, December 15, his salary would cease and he could lose his job, he said.
The accused handed himself to police on September 9, two days after he allegedly evaded arrest and used one of his alleged victims, a 9-year-old girl, as a human shield to flee when police had him surrounded at the Hibiscus Mall.
At the initial bail application the court heard how the man, still in uniform, grabbed the child in the parking lot with one hand and the other held on to his gun in his holster when he noticed he was blocked in by a police car.
He allegedly ran to a nearby service station and made the child’s mother take off her T-shirt, which he wore in an effort to disguise himself.
The court heard that he then called his wife to fetch him and the two drove to Durban where they spent the weekend with their daughter.
The accused is alleged to have sexually assaulted the 9-year-old and raped a 13-year-old more than once in August.
It is believed the 13-year-old had attended a sports class where he had been present.
Both girls allegedly lived with the accused at the time. Seethal said his client had admitted that when he became aware of his imminent arrest on September 6 he panicked.
He subsequently composed himself and handed himself over.
This went against the investigating officer’s evidence that the accused was a flight risk, Seethal said.
Referring to the policeman’s business interests, Seethal said a person with such “extensive roots” would not simply abscond.
The defence also argued that the main witness had lied to the investigating officer.
The accused claimed it was another person from the sports class who raped the 13-year-old. Two supporting affidavits were submitted to the court.
The accused also said it was the complainant’s husband who had taken naked pictures of her daughter but was unable to press charges because police had sided with him.
He said the mother wanted money to pay lawyers to fight her case.
His other contention was that he did not have a firearm on September 9 and was never issued with an official firearm.
Seethal also said the State had not proved “exploitation” in the charges related to child pornography.
Magistrate PA Coetzer is expected to make a ruling on bail before the end of the month.