The charges against a Durban couple accused of kidnapping street children, allegedly for the purposes of sexual exploitation, have been provisionally withdrawn owing to contradictory evidence.

National Prosecuting Authority spokeswoman Natasha Ramkisson said there was contradictory evidence from the complainants during the interview process.

The Hillary man and his girlfriend, a freelance journalist, were arrested in May after investigations initiated by I Care, a non-profit organisation that assists street children.

The couple, both 32, had not pleaded to charges of rape, kidnapping and exposing or displaying their genitals, and therefore cannot be named.

The court had heard, in the bail application, that in April last year, four boys were held captive for several weeks in a granny flat until they escaped.

The man’s application was denied, while the woman was released on R3 000 bail on the basis that she was the sole provider for her ailing mother.

Last month, the Daily News’s sister newspaper, the Sunday Tribune, reported that while the couple were in custody, their house burnt down.

Their lawyer, Mfanafuthi Biyela, said his clients were not willing to speak to the media while there remained a possibility of the charges being re-instated.

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