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Journalist accused of raping child released on R2‚000 bail

The suspect was arrested two weeks ago for an alleged rape incident that took place four years ago.
The suspect was arrested two weeks ago for an alleged rape incident that took place four years ago.

The family of a girl who was allegedly raped by a journalist were stunned when he was released on R2 000 bail in Cape Town on Monday.

State prosecutor Craig Esterhuizen told the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court that the alleged victim had met the investigating officer and the senior prosecutor. He said bail would not be opposed for the schedule six offence.

But speaking to the publication afterwards‚ the girl's mother said she had not been consulted about whether she was opposed to bail or not.

The suspect was arrested two weeks ago - four years after the alleged incident took place‚ when the girl was seven years old.

The journalist‚ who has subsequently been suspended by the Cape Times‚ allegedly knew the victim well. The child’s relatives said they were concerned as he stayed close to her home.

"She needs to be restricted now. She can't go out and play because she is very scared of him and she might run into him‚" said a family friend.

The journalist’s lawyer‚ Zukisani Pobotyana‚ read out an affidavit in support of the bail application‚ which stated that he had a teenage child of his own and that there were other family members who were reliant on his salary as their main source of income.

"If this was someone else‚ they would not have been treated this way by the court. In this country if you have high power you are treated differently‚" said a friend of the alleged victim’s family after bail was granted.

Another family friend who knew the accused said she was shocked because "he is someone who covers rape stories all the time".

In his affidavit the man said he intended to plead not guilty to the charges. He has no former convictions.

The case was postponed to October 29 for further consultation and investigation.

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