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Port Elizabeth - A senior police officer based at the Motherwell police station in port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape was released on bail on Wednesday after being charged with raping a woman with Down Syndrome two weeks ago.  

The 40-year-old police sergeant, who cannot be named until he has formally pleaded, was arrested on the January 8 after he allegedly raped a 23-year-old woman on the third. 

The charge is deemed a schedule six offence as the woman is mentally handicapped. 

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson, Tsepo Ndwalaza, said the matter had been handed over to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid). 

He said according to the docket, the police officer was giving two women a lift from a local shebeen to go buy electricity at a nearby petrol station when they happened upon the woman with Down Syndrome walking alongside the road.  

Ndwalaza said the woman knew one of the occupants and joined them in the car, sitting up front next to the police officer.  

"When the women went into the petrol station the woman stayed behind in the with the officer and when they returned, the two were allegedly seen kissing and fondling in the car," he said.  

Ndwalaza said the officer had then taken the two women back to the shebeen to drop off the electricity, but when they came back out, the car, officer and downs syndrome woman were gone. 

Ndwalaza said the woman who was an acquaintance of the Down Syndrome woman was suspicious and went to the officer's house, where she found the two having sex.  

According to the docket shortly after the woman arrived, the officer's wife had arrived at the house and started attacking the victim for having an affair with her husband. She was not aware at the time that the woman was handicapped.  

According to the state prosecutor, Thundezwa Ngonyama, the two women who were in the vehicle will be state witnesses. Ngonyama said while the charge was deemed a schedule six offence, the state was not opposing bail and recommended bail be set at R2 000.  

Defence attorney Zanele Matawane, submitted an affidavit wherein her client indicated he intended pleading not guilty and would not be arguing the merits of his defense at this time. 

Following the submissions, magistrate Mureedah Louis granted the officer bail of R2 000, on condition that he does not interact with the witnesses in the case or interfere in the investigation. The matter was remanded to the 29th of March for further investigation.  

African News Agency/ANA