Former coach at Parktown Boys’ High School Collan Rex leaves the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court covering his face after appearing. Rex is facing more than 300 charges of rape, sexual assault and attempted murder. Itumeleng English African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - The former Parktown Boys assistant polo coach has accused six of his complainants of lying in their testimonies that described sexual assault, rape and exposing them to pornography, saying he didn't know why they lied. 

Collan Rex revealed this on Monday in court when he offered his reasons why some of the boys accused him of sexually assaulting them. He said water polo was a physical sport where he sometimes grabbed the costumes of learners as a means to toughen them up.

Addressing the choking and strangling allegations, Rex called it "fun and games" and said he didn't intend to kill anyone.

When the matter started at the South Gauteng High Court, sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court, Rex was facing 327 charges ranging from attempted murder, rape, sexual grooming and exposing minors to pornography.

He has already admitted guilt to 144 counts of sexual assault on learners aged between 13 and 16 in 2015 and 2016 on the school premises. However, the charges have been reduced to 286 after the judge acquitted him on some charges.

Rex's lawyer wanted Judge Peet Johnson to acquit the former Parktown Boys assistant polo coach and hostel master on over a 100 charges of attempted murder and rape.

However, Judge Johnson rejected that application but acquitted Rex on only 41 counts ranging from attempted murder, sexual assault, assault and exposing a minor to pornography.

The acquittal was due to certain complainants not testifying as well as 20 counts of sexual assault being dropped as the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA) does not regard the grabbing of male nipples or chest as an offence. 

Defence Advocate William Robertse had launched an application in terms of section 174 of the CPA to ask for an acquittal of all the 110 attempted murder charges levelled against Rex, arguing that the intent to kill had not proven by the State.

The attempted murder charges relate to a testimony heard during the trial. Rex allegedly repeatedly strangled and choked learners at the Joburg school. It is alleged that some of the schoolboys passed out during this act. 

Robertse asserted that the State had failed to prove that Rex had the intention to kill and that many of the complainants had testified that they didn't believe that the accused wanted to kill them.

As well as the attempted murder charges, Robertse also wanted his client acquitted on rape charges as Rex is accused by learners of having stuck his finger in their anuses.

However, Judge Johnson rejected the defence's pleas for acquittal, saying he would reveal his reasons in his main judgement later in the trial. 

The trial continues. 

The Star