73-year-old pensioner allegedly raped by relative too ill for court
The matter was postponed to next Monday.
Mfanafuthi Mbatha appeared briefly before magistrate B Asmal, where the woman was meant to have finished leading evidence she started giving in December.
However, prosecutor Sizwe Khanyile told the court he had been contacted by the woman’s son-in-law, who said she was unwell.
“The son-in-law said she had been experiencing pain since Sunday night and couldn’t come to court,” he said.
Khanyile told Asmal, who enquired about the nature of the woman’s condition, that he only knew that her condition had become worse and she was in pain.
Khanyile, who asked for a postponement, told the court he was nearing the end of his evidence-in-chief and the defence would present its case after the woman’s cross-examination.
Before calling the pensioner to lead evidence in December, Khanyile made an application to the court in October for her to lead her evidence from her home, via video conference or Skype, because of her poor health.
According to the charge sheet, Khanyile included a letter from a state doctor who said the woman “will not be able to go to court”.
However, the defence said granting the application was “unreasonable” and would cause delays in proceedings as the process of connecting electronic communications would take time to set up, and Asmal denied the application.
Mbatha, who has been in custody since 2018, is alleged to have raped the woman on several occasions from 2017 to August 2018.
Mbatha has pleaded not guilty, claiming consent.