PRETORIA - The 20-year-old man accused of raping a young girl at a Dros restaurant in Pretoria on Tuesday told a court that officers at the Silverton police station severely assaulted him while in custody.
Through his attorney, the suspect told Magistrate Mali Mokoena that he was brutalised by community members during his arrest, and police officers went on to beat him while detained at the Silverton police station, east of Pretoria.
"It has come to my attention that the accused has sustained certain injuries during arrest. These injuries have not been placed on record. These issues might become very pertinent to the case," his attorney Riaan du Plessis told the court.
"He was taken to the hospital and an examination was done. Not all the injuries were recorded."
The magistrate then asked Du Plessis to detail the injuries.
"These injuries are visible on the accused. The first one is on his right earlobe. There was a cut. He received plus or minus four stitches. He was injured by a broken bottle used by bystanders. He sustained lacerations on his head, from his forehead to the back of his head. Its about 15 centimeters," said Du Plessis.
"The third [injury] is a cut on the right side of his head. The fourth injury is a bloodshot left eye. On the first appearance, both his eyes were blue."
Du Plessis added that his client was assaulted by police officers.
"The accused was forced by police at Silverton to do push-ups and he was then kicked in the left eye. He was hit with belts and open hands by the Silverton police."
Earlier, the accused told the court that he does not want to hand over his cellphone to authorities.
The prosecution had requested the magistrate to order the man to hand over his cellphone, a move which the accused vehemently opposed.
"We request that this court makes an order, telling the accused to hand over his cellphone. If the court makes that order, we will be able to get the phone, which is critical to the ongoing investigations. The grandmother of the accused has indicated that she has the phone," said the prosecutor Advocate Sanet Jacobson.
However, Du Plessis told the court that his client does not want to "assist" the State in any way.
"The accused has a right against self incrimination. I have instructions from the accused that he doesn't want to help the State in its investigation," said Du Plessis.
In the end, the magistrate told the State to make formal submissions for the cellphone.
The matter was postponed to November 1 for further investigations.
The accused faces charges of rape, possession of drugs, assault with intent to do bodily harm and intimidation.
It is alleged that he followed the little girl from the restaurant's play area to the toilets where he raped her. The girl's mother allegedly caught him in the act after she went looking for her child.
* IOL will not name the suspect until he has pleaded to the charges against him.
African News Agency (ANA)