South Africa: Dros Rape Accused Expected Back in Court After Psychiatric Observation

Photo: Supplied
Composite image of rape accused Nicholas Ninow.

The 22-year-old man accused of raping a seven-year-old girl in the bathroom of a Dros restaurant in Pretoria is expected back in court, after spending a month in Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital, undergoing extensive evaluation.

The accused, who cannot be named until he has pleaded to the charges, was evaluated by a team of four experts, including psychiatrists and a clinical psychologist, as per a court order made in 2018.

The observation took place at a government psychiatric institution.

Mental state

The evaluation is expected to determine the mental capacity of the accused and whether he can be held accountable.

During a previous court appearance, the accused's lawyer, Riaan du Plessis, told the court that there was a need to explore the mental state of his client at the time of the alleged incident.

He added that the accused had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2013 and had been using drugs since he was 14 years old.

It was put on record that the accused had previously undergone rehabilitation for substance abuse.

"He also tried to commit suicide because of the severe depression of having bipolar," said Du Plessis.

State advocate Sanet Jacobson told the court that it was in the interests of justice for the accused to be referred to Weskoppies for psychiatric observation.

"[His] criminal capacity might be a relevant issue to pursue because a substance was found on him," Jacobson argued.

Substance identified

On Wednesday, the National Prosecuting Authority revealed that the substance found on the accused at the time of his arrest was Methcathinone, more commonly know as "cat".

Furthermore, police had also tracked down a man who had socialised with the accused at a restaurant on the day of the alleged incident, and a statement had been obtained from him.

Police spokesperson Colonel Lungelo Dlamini confirmed to News24 that they had taken all the relevant statements from witnesses present that day.

In September last year, the accused was at the restaurant and allegedly followed the seven-year-old child to a bathroom and raped her.

A video, taken moments after the alleged incident, showed a man covered in blood, and angry patrons berating him.

Since being arrested, the accused has not yet brought an application for his release on bail, nor has he pleaded to the charges.

*News24 has taken a decision not to identify the accused until he has pleaded in court as stipulated in the Criminal Procedure Act.

According to Section 154(2b) of the Criminal Procedure Act: No person shall at any stage before the appearance of an accused in a court upon any charge referred to in Section 153(3) or at any stage after such appearance but before the accused has pleaded to the charge, publish in any manner whatever any information relating to the charge in question.

Section 153(3) refers to criminal proceedings related to sexual offences charges.

Once the accused has pleaded to the charges, News24 will reveal his identity in accordance with the law.

News24

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