Quick bail after sexual offence charge
Many police and court officials were taken aback when a young woman who was arrested at her Fancourt home two weeks ago on a charge of consensual sex with a minor, was released on R1 000 bail within three hours of her arrest.
The 34-year-old woman was arrested by the George Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS) on 29 August.
The charge followed after the victim
(16) told one of his teachers what had happened and the school contacted the police. The boy was 15 years old at the time of the alleged incident.
The George Herald received information suggesting that the accused never saw the inside of the court holding cells and spent the time before her bail application in an office at the George Magistrate's Court.
According to the investigating officer, this is not true and the accused was held at the police holding cells until she was brought to the court holding cells for her appearance.
Nevertheless, the suspect's short stay behind bars caused some raised eyebrows.
According to the National Prosecuting Authority's (NPA) Regional Communications Manager, Eric Ntabazalila, each case is dealt with on its own merit and the suspect's swift visit to court was nothing out of the ordinary. He said the suspect obtained the services of a lawyer shortly after her arrest.
"The investigating officer was contacted to inform her of the request and to enquire as to her readiness.
“She indicated that she would be able to finalise the formalities of the arrest and bring the accused and the docket to court before the end of the day. This is a schedule one offence and the State was not opposing bail."
If the investigating officer had not been ready, the case would have been enrolled the next day and the accused would have stayed in custody.
"As bail was not being opposed, the suspect's lawyer approached District Court Control Prosecutor Riette Zietsman with a request that the case be enrolled that same day. The courts were still in session and the case was enrolled," Ntabazalila said.
The case was postponed for further investigation until 27 September.