Johannesburg - The High Court sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court on Wednesday, acquitted a Soweto school scholar patroller, Johannes Molefe, of all the sexual assault and rape charges he faced.
"The court is not satisfied that the state has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt," Judge Peet Johnson said while handing down his judgment.
Although Johnson said it was understandable that the young girls could not remember the exact dates of when the alleged incidents happened, he said that there was what he described as a "comedy" of errors in the case on the side of the teachers, police and the Teddy Bear clinic.
He said the case was contaminated.
Molefe was facing three charges of rape and 11 of sexual assault which he allegedly committed in 2017. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges and was arrested in October 2017.
While giving his testimony, Molefe said the case against him was a plot to remove him from the school so that the principal, Maria Mthimkhulu, could be harmed because she was allegedly stealing the schools money.
Johnson said it was not far-fetched that the children were coached at the Teddy Bear Clinic.
"I have no doubt that they influenced each other one way or another."
Johnson said there were 54 children who came forward that Molefe had molested them but later some of them retracted their statements.
Johnson said the children should have not been told to say what was done to them while they were in a group.
Medical reports of all the children were submitted and admitted as evidence to the court.
"All was not well at (the) primary school," Johnson said.
He continued to read the evidence that was heard during the trial and read how Mthimkhulu, testified about disruptions at the school and how some teachers and parents did not want a security guard and were demanding another principal which made her fear for her life.
Johnson also read about the testimonies of the children who testified against Molefe.
He said that a doctor had testified who that she had not found any injuries in the children except for the bladder infection that one of the girls had which could have been caused by a finger being inserted in the vagina but was not the only cause.
Johnson said it was clear that the first count of rape was drafted without a statement. He said there were contradictions between the police statements and those from the Teddy Bear clinic.
He said it could not be ignored that the rape allegations came after a prolonged interrogation at the Teddy Bear clinic. He said he did not doubt the ability of the staff at the Teddy Bear clinic but that they had to be careful when dealing with young children.
"The prosecution code of conduct was not adhered to."
Johnson said although there were CCTV cameras, no one went to retrieve the footage to use as evidence and instead the State said the cameras were stolen.African News Agency