Nicholas Ninow admitted to knowing he was acting unlawfully when he raped a seven-year-old girl in the bathroom of a Dros restaurant in Pretoria, putting to rest any doubt about his mental capacity during the crime.
Ninow pleaded guilty to two counts of rape, possession of an illegal substance and defeating the ends of justice on September 22, 2018, the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria heard on Monday.
He pleaded not guilty to an assault charge and the State withdrew the kidnapping charge.
In his plea explanation, read out by his legal aid attorney Herman Alberts, Ninow said he went to the female's bathroom to take a drug known as CAT, hoping he would not get caught.
He claimed the victim then came into the bathroom and told him she wanted to urinate. He then pulled down her pants and put her on the toilet, Ninow said.
"In that moment, I acted impulsively, and took my penis and forced it into the complainant's mouth. Thereafter, I penetrated the complainant's vagina with my finger."
Ninow said he quickly realised what he was doing was wrong and stopped.
The State's first witness - the waitress who served Ninow on the day in question - told the court how Ninow had seated himself close to the kiddies play area at the restaurant.
The waitress, who didn't want to be identified, told the court that he consumed copious amounts of liquor.
She also detailed how they found Ninow and the victim in the bathroom and alleged he had tried to assault her with his belt.
In his plea explanation, he also put to rest any possibility of bringing his mental capacity into question at the time of the offence.
In February, 20-year-old Ninow was found fit to stand trial after spending a month in Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital, undergoing extensive evaluation.
A court order was obtained after his legal aid attorney argued there was a need to explore his mental state at the time of the incident.
It was further placed on record that Ninow was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2013, and had been using drugs since he was 14 years old. He has also previously undergone rehabilitation for substance abuse and attempted to commit suicide.
According to the psychiatric report, which News24 has seen, Ninow was diagnosed as a mixed substance abuser. However, the report further stated the diagnoses had no bearing on his ability to understand court proceedings and contribute to his defence.
"At the time of the alleged offence, the accused did not suffer from a mental illness or intellectual disability that affected his ability to distinguish between the rightful and wrongful nature of his deeds," the report stated.
"A mental illness or intellectual disability did not affect his ability to act in accordance with the said appreciate of the rightful and wrongful nature of his deeds."
'I knew my actions were wrong'
Ninow also admitted nothing was preventing him from "appreciating the wrongfulness of my actions, or that affected my ability to act in accordance with such appreciation".
He further placed on record that while he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol, he could still appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions and his culpability, adding he had acted intentionally when he raped the victim.
"I had no legal justification for penetrating the complainant in her mouth, or vagina; and at the time I knew my actions were wrong and I was committing an offence," Ninow said in his plea explanation.
"I had no right to penetrate the complainant's vagina and she did not consent thereto; and due to her age she was, anyway, incapable of consent."
Ninow also pointed out he had intentionally disposed of the victim's underwear in order to get rid of evidence that could incriminate him.
Trial goes ahead
Prosecutor advocate Dorah Ngobeni did not accept Ninow's version of events in his plea agreement and asked that the matter proceed to trial. The plea explanation was admitted as evidence.
The second witness, Johan Fourie, testified that he did not know Ninow but shared two drinks with him on that day. He testified Ninow was clearly high and drunk.
The trial is expected to continue on Tuesday.