Durban – CONFRONTED with pictures of himself dressed in lacy women’s underwear, the man accused of gross sexual abuse and keeping his stepdaughter as a sex slave stormed out of the witness box in the Durban High Court on Thursday, confronted court orderlies and let loose a verbal tirade which included swearing at them and the prosecutor.
State senior advocate Cheryl Naidu demanded answers from the Verulam man, who is charged with grooming the now teen for several years as his sex slave, forcing her to perform sexual acts, raping her and making her watch porn videos, when she presented him with pictures of himself in women’s underwear.
The man refused to admit that the underwear was a pair of women’s panties, insisting it was a man’s briefs.
“You cannot tell me that it’s a brief; clearly it is white lace woman’s underwear,” Naidu put it to him.
The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his stepdaughter, became angry and stormed out of the witness box.
It took three women officers on guard inside the courtroom, who rushed to stop him, to get him back to the witness box, while another policewoman blocked the door. He refused to go back, saying he was leaving and not returning to court.
The officers formed a chain in front of him, ordering him to do as they said.
He asked: “What are you going to do about it?”
Judge Mohini Moodley warned that his behaviour was in contempt of court, but he would not listen and lashed out.
“I am not coming back here. I have had enough. You can f****** throw me in jail. You can f****** hang me or shoot me, I don’t care. I have no respect for this court. I have had enough of this *******. Throw me in jail for the rest of my life, do whatever you want,” he screamed.
Moodley adjourned the case to allow him to think about his decision.
When the court resumed, he returned and apologised for his behaviour, but said he was not prepared to continue with the cross-examination and wished not to continue participating in future trial proceedings. He would also not attend court on judgment day.
“I apologise for my outburst earlier, it was not my intention. I just got very emotional. I have thought about the consequences for the past two weeks. This thing is emotionally breaking me,” he told the judge.
His lawyer, Thiagaraj Pillay, said he had advised his client of the consequences of his proposed stance.
Judge Moodley said she would allow him time to cool off and think about his decision, and adjourned the case to today.
If he returns and insists that he does not want to participate or be present for the court proceedings, the remainder of the cross-examination would continue in his absence, with Naidu presenting to the court the remainder of the evidence and her arguments without him.
However, his lawyer would continue to represent him and be present in court.