South Africa: Alleged Dros Rapist Declared Fit to Stand Trial

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 has been found fit to stand trial.

This was revealed in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Friday, after the accused spent a month in Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital, undergoing extensive evaluation.

The State said they obtained a psychological report as well as a psychiatric report by 3 psychiatrics and a psychologist and that the accused can stand trial.

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.

The evaluation determined 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.

Previously, News24 revealed that the substance found on the accused at the time of his arrest had tested positive for Khat, and the charge sheet was changed to reflect this.

The matter has been postponed to 5 March for indictment.

*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.

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