The 43-year-old man at his court appearance in the Verulam Magistrate's Court. Picture: Mphathi Nxumalo

Durban - THE trial of the Verulam man, accused of repeatedly raping his stepdaughter, has been set down for three weeks, from April 16 next year.

The date was finalised during a pre-trial conference, in the Durban High Court, last week.

Twelve witnesses are expected to testify for the State.

During proceedings, it emerged that the defence viewed the State’s video evidence. This was after a back and forth battle with the State to hand over a copy of the footage.

The 44-year-old accused, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the child, faces 46 charges.

Among them is the creation, distribution and possession of child pornography, compelled sexual assault and human trafficking. 

He also faces 11 counts of rape, three counts of child abuse and human trafficking, sexual exploitation and sexual grooming of children, and causing or compelling children to witness self-masturbation.

The accused allegedly repeatedly raped his now 12-year-old stepdaughter after her mother died. It is further alleged he used her as a sex slave.

He was arrested on June 11, 2018, after the child allegedly told a neighbour what was happening.

According to State indictments the mother of the girl lived with the man as his wife for about two years in Verulam before dying in April 2014.

Although the girl’s maternal family attempted to gain custody of her when she was 6 years old, he refused.

The accused was denied bail in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court and remains in custody, at Durban’s Westville Prison, as an awaiting trial prisoner.