Collan Rex convicted of assaulting Parktown boys‚ not guilty of attempted murder

Collan Rex, who was a waterpolo coach at Parktown Boys High pleaded guilty to 144 sexual assault charges at the Palmridge Magistrate Court.
Collan Rex, who was a waterpolo coach at Parktown Boys High pleaded guilty to 144 sexual assault charges at the Palmridge Magistrate Court.
Image: Masi Losi

Parktown Boys’ High School’s former assistant water polo coach and housemaster‚ Collan Rex‚ has been found guilty of assault and sexual assault.

Rex‚ 22‚ was on Friday convicted of 12 counts of assault and 144 of sexual assault.

Acting Judge Peet Johnson said the prosecution had not proved its attempted murder charges against Rex.

A number of boys from the well-known Johannesburg school had testified how Rex had choked them during 2016. Others testified that he had touched their genitals during that year. One pupil also described how Rex made him watch the erotic movie Fifty Shades of Grey.

During his cross-examination by prosecutor Arveena Persad this week‚ Rex said he did not know why the witnesses believed he had tried to kill them when he had choked them during what he described as bonding exercises. Rex testified he meant no harm when choking the boys and said "it was merely horseplay".

The judge said on Friday he was not satisfied that the State proved beyond reasonable doubt that Rex wanted to kill the schoolboys.

His actions in assaulting the boys were intentional; however‚ the State could not prove how many times he had assaulted the complainants‚ Johnson said. He said the court had to treat single witnesses' evidence with caution‚ including the boys who claimed that Rex had stuck his finger in their anuses.

"It was not explained how a person could penetrate an anus with a finger when he has his clothes on‚" the court contended‚ adding that there was no medical evidence to corroborate these claims.

On the porn rap‚ the judge said: "There is no corroboration that the accused exposed the complainants to pornography. No pornographic material was found on the accused's phone or his laptop."

Johnson said even if Rex had deleted the pornographic material‚ the police would have recovered it.

The court found Rex to be an honest and open witness who did not try to conceal any evidence.

He accepted responsibility for his conduct‚ the court found.

"There is no reason to accept doubtful versions of the accused and reject the evidence of the accused."

Rex was caught on surveillance camera fondling a 15-year-old in the school’s hostel in November 2016. He was arrested soon afterwards.

In August‚ he admitted guilt to 144 counts of sexual assault involving 12 schoolboys. He‚ however‚ pleaded not guilty to a further 183 counts including rape‚ attempted murder‚ sexual assault‚ exposure of pornography to a child‚ and sexual grooming.

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