FRANCISTOWN: A 40-year-old man of Manyanda ward in Tonota appeared in court on Monday facing one count of allegedly raping his five-year-old niece. According to the charge sheet, the incident allegedly happened on September 20, at the lands in the outskirts of the village.
Edward told the court that investigations in the matter are still ongoing adding that plea should be reserved.
“We are of the view that granting the accused bail at this point will jeopardise police investigations. We therefore, call the investigations officer (IO) to tell the court why the accused shall not be granted bail,” said Edward.
The IO, detective Sergeant Philisani Gunda said: “This matter is still fresh. The accused is the uncle of the complainant in this matter. The complainant was left under the care of the accused when the incident allegedly happened. The incident has left the complainant traumatised to the point that she is now afraid of the accused and now runs away whenever she comes into contact with him.”
Gunda added: “The accused and complainant stay in the same yard. The accused has been taken for psychosocial support counselling following the alleged incident. At this stage, I cannot commit to the time frame as to when I would have completed my investigations. I therefore, pray that the accused shall be remanded in custody pending the finalisation of investigations.”
When given an opportunity to cross-examine the IO, the accused denied that the child was very afraid of him.
Also, the accused did not ask the IO questions relating to why the IO said he should be remanded in custody.
The accused said: “I have been in the police cells ever since I was arrested last week Wednesday. I have been very cooperative with the police and I therefore, pray to be granted conditional bail which I promise the court that I shall abide by.”
When Magistrate Thabang Chokwe asked the accused where he stayed and whether he stayed with the complainant in the same compound, the accused said: “I stay in Tonota while the complainant and her mother stay at the lands where the incident allegedly happened for most of the time. However, I stay in the same yard with the complainant and her mother whenever they are in Tonota. They frequently come to Tonota. I promise that if I can be granted conditional bail, I will not stay where the complainant is staying in Tonota but I will relocate to my father’s place in Tonota.”
When determining the accused’s bail application, Chokwe said: “Upon hearing the accused’s bail application, I have come to the conclusion that he shall be remanded in custody to allow the police to complete their investigations.”