Magistrate slams previous bail procedure
Man accused of raping children
A WYNBERG magistrate, granting an Athlone crèche owner bail of R5 000 in a case involving charges of the rape and sexual assault of children, took a swipe at a senior prosecutor for not opposing the accused’s release on bail in a previous case against him.
The decision of prosecutor Deon Ruiters, who worked previously at a specialised sex offences court, was “beyond my comprehension”, magistrate Hafiza Mohamed said yesterday in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court, adding Ruiters lacked insight and knowledge of the law.
She made the comments at the start of a judgment in the bail application of Desmond Kriger, 64, who is accused of three counts of rape and three of sexual assault. They relate to crimes he allegedly committed against six young girls who attended the Little Angels Educare Centre crèche.
One of the charges against him dates back more than 10 years. The alleged victim reported the incident after hearing about more recent cases.
The crèche has since been closed by the Department of Social Development.
Before magistrate Mohamed gave her reasons for her decision to release Kriger on bail in the case before her, she criticised Ruiters, questioning why he had not first verified important information before deciding to not oppose bail on the previous occasion, especially when he could have requested a seven-day remand.
She said it was a “travesty of justice” that a prosecutor in a specialised court could make “such nonchalant” decisions on bail in cases involving such a serious charge.
In addition, she said the investigating officer also sent the accused to court with unknown detectives, and didn’t bother to discuss the case with the prosecutor.
Turning to the evidence before her in the bail application, she said the charges against Kriger were serious, and there was an “outcry” in the community against such offences, which had become prevalent in society.
However, Mohamed said, the court could not be driven by emotion and Kriger had complied with previous bail conditions and had a fixed address.
In addition, she said the State had not proved there was a likelihood he would interfere with witnesses, or that he would be exposed to the children, since the crèche was no longer operating.
She granted him bail of R5 000 and barred him from entering the Athlone area or contacting the victims or their families.
In addition, she ordered that he should continue to live in the Claremont area until the case was finalised.
According to the State’s allegations, Kriger allegedly fondled young girls, either while driving them home from the crèche or aftercare, or during playtime.
The girls allegedly reported how “Uncle Des” would arrange to have one girl sitting in front with him in his bakkie, giving him the opportunity to fondle them.
Others allegedly reported sitting on his lap during playtime, sometimes two girls at a time, while the alleged sexual assaults took place.
Kriger is to appear in court again on August 12.
MAKE-UP ARTIST: Octavia Mulder leaves court with a relative after she was granted bail. Mulder faces murder and robbery charges over the death of brothel owner Pedro Lopez of Oranjezicht.