State awaits medical report after Verulam father skips court appearance

By Lyse Comins Time of article published Oct 9, 2020

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A 45-YEAR-OLD Verulam man who is facing a slew of horrific sexual offence charges, after allegedly trafficking his step-daughter and using her as a sex slave to create child pornography, failed to arrive for the start of his trial in the Durban High Court yesterday.

The matter was adjourned to today when the man’s medical certificate is expected to be presented to court. He has not yet pleaded to the charges.

The man, who insisted on taking custody of the girl when her mother, his common-law wife, died in 2014, is facing 56 charges including multiple counts of rape and sexual assault, child abuse, human trafficking, sexual grooming of a child, incitement or inducing another person to commit a sexual offence, sexual exploitation of a child and the possession, creation and distribution of child pornography.

He cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, who was 11 years old at the time of the alleged offences.

Senior state attorney Cheryl Naidu told the court yesterday that police had advised her that the man had not arrived at court with the other awaiting-trial prisoners because he was sick.

“The accused is unwell and arrangements had to be made for him to be taken to the prison hospital for treatment.

“The accused does have a diabetes problem and his sugar levels were very high yesterday. It was brought to my attention yesterday that the accused has diabetes and that he didn’t have his medication for two days,” Naidu said.

Naidu said that the police were still awaiting a report from his doctor regarding his medical condition.

The State has alleged in a 66-page indictment that the man kept the girl in his home, where she was repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted and used to create child pornography which he distributed via his cellphone.

He also allegedly forced her to perform sexual acts on unknown men for “financial or other reward” and with the man’s girlfriend.

The man is also facing child abuse charges for “failing to enrol the girl at school and/or preventing her from attending school; confining her in the home and demanding that she clean the house and cook when necessary” and for “introducing her and encouraging her to smoke”, according to the indictment.

“The accused harboured the complainant at home and prevented her from attending school. The complainant did not have the support of any other person and was therefore afraid of the accused and vulnerable to him.

“The accused was therefore in a position to and did thus sexually exploit the complainant for his own gratification and benefit,” the indictment read.

According to the indictment, he had “vehemently refused” to give custody of the girl to her mother’s family after her death and in 2015 moved with her to Gauteng where they found themselves homeless. They moved in with his ex-girlfriend.

However, when her house burnt down in June 2017, he moved back to Durban and brought the victim back home a short while later. They initially moved between residences in Overport and Redhill before moving to Verulam until he was arrested by the community on June 11, 2018, after the girl told a neighbour what was allegedly happening in the house.

The community allegedly assaulted the man before he was arrested.

Speaking about the accused’s failure to appear in court, Judge Mohini Moodley said it was important for the court to obtain the medical prognosis so that a decision could be made regarding the start of the trial.

“I think it is important to get the prognosis because we anticipated yesterday getting the matter finished in the time allocated and the first week has already been lost,” the judge said.

“We need to get the details not only for diagnosis but also for prognosis so we know how to deal with the matter as it arises.”

Judge Moodley said the doctor should also give a report to the prison authorities indicating that his illness was as a result of him not getting his insulin so that the authorities could ensure he received it.

The Mercury

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