Picture: African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Johannesburg - The State's application for Judge Peet Johnson to recuse himself in the case of a scholar patroller who allegedly sexually abused numerous children at a Soweto school, was denied in the High Court sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court on Monday.

Johannes Molefe, 58, allegedly raped and sexually assaulted children from the primary school and faces three counts of rape and 11 of sexual assault.

State prosecutor Jacki Steyn had argued that the judge had not been impartial and had prejudged the matter based on the testimony of the first witness and her assessment by the Teddy Bear Clinic. 

The recusal application was based on a discussion in chambers.  

In response to Steyn saying the children had been assessed by the Teddy Bear Clinic, Judge Johnson said the State had a problem if other witnesses were also assessed by the NGO. This, the State asserted, was an indication that he had prejudged the case. 

Steyn said it was important for the judge in the matter to be impartial.

"The other 12 witnesses will not receive a fair trial," Steyn argued during proceedings.

Defence lawyer Lumka Xoxo said the State's application was unfounded.

Johnson said the argument was about what the witness had told the Teddy Bear Clinic, the prosecutor and her mother.

"I was uneasy by this state of affairs and I spoke to the prosecutor but I have not prejudged and it's still open for the court to make a finding, where the bias comes in baffles me. I'm not judging the prosecutor's crediblility but the evidence given by the witness," Johnson said when delivering his judgment.

African News Agency/ANA