Reverend Dolley-Major’s rape tribunal postponed
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Cape Town - Proceedings for the Diocesan tribunal into the alleged rape of Reverend June Dolley-Major was postponed on Wednesday as she could not attend due to being in isolation.
The tribunal, involving accused Reverend Melvin Booysen, was set to go ahead on Wednesday but due to having come into contact with a person who had tested positive for Covid-19, and experiencing short breath and a tight chest, a doctor advised Dolley-Major to isolate.
The alleged rape took place at the Grahamstown Seminary, nearly 19 years ago.
The virtual tribunal, chaired by Bishop Peter Lee, had to be postponed, her representative Chesray Herandien said.
’’We received communication quite late on Monday afternoon that she was in contact with somebody that tested Covid positive, and during the course of the week she consulted with a doctor (who advised) she needs to be isolated.
“Up until (yesterday morning) I still haven't heard anything regarding her health and if she is fit to give testimony and whether she would be a competent witness of sound health and participate in proceedings,” Herandien said .
’’The second tier for the postponement is related to an expert witness. A psychological assessment was done in 2017 which came to my attention quite late last week. It is of paramount importance that the expert witness is joined in the proceedings related to the assessment and related to trauma...and for that reason we request a postponement,” said Herandien.
Booysen’s counsel, on instruction, had opposed both parts of the request.
Representing Booysen, Lynette Myburgh, said: “You will recall that when we last convened and arranged these dates, Dolley-Major was very adamant that she would not be here today. It’s quite convenient that she has been in contact with somebody who tested positive. There was no indication before this board that she is ill, unable to attend. And if she was to be isolated there was no reason why she could not give her evidence electronically.
“As for the expert witness...I believe that this witness will be available only later in July but there was no reason why any of the other witnesses could not be called and be disposed of in the meantime,” said Myburgh.
Lee said all parties were there as a result of Major-Dolley’s persistence and determination in seeking that the church provides her a hearing.
“This is a tribunal of the church and we asked for it to be respected and the dignity that belongs to it. I made a solemn appeal that we don’t seek to influence these proceedings by any kind of publicity or propaganda,” said Lee.
The matter was postponed until August 5.