Model agency owner accused of child rape gets bail despite protest

Nicholas Maré is accused of raping girls at his Cape Town modelling agency.
Nicholas Maré is accused of raping girls at his Cape Town modelling agency.
Image: 123RF/ rclassenlayouts

Model agency owner and alleged child rapist Nicholas Maré was granted R10,000 bail in the Cape Town magistrate's court on Tuesday, but was placed under house arrest.

The court accepted a prosecution report giving reasons why Maré, of Tarito Model Management in the Cape Town city centre, should not be released on bail. These included reports of previous arrests for sexual deviancy.

Defence attorney William Booth put up an extensive fight over the admissibility of the document, which he referred to as "a letter".

Magistrate Ronelle Olivier accepted the document as admissible.

In her reasons for granting bail she said as a mother, a woman and a community member,  her knee-jerk reaction would have been to deny bail.

"South Africa suffers a crippling scourge of gender-based violence. The general misconception by the public when people are arrested and charged with cases like this is that they should not be granted bail. Unfortunately, the law does not allow for such a simplistic interpretation," she said.

"Now is not the time to approach this application with emotions and hysteria. I live in a community where I see this every day. We see cases like this coming through this court every day. As President Cyril Ramaphosa said, there is a war on women and children.

"There are those who scream for revenge and retribution. He's guilty, he's guilty, he's guilty. I say leave that for the trial court."

Olivier said one of the reasons she granted bail was that Maré had underlying health conditions which would put his life at risk if he were kept in custody at Pollsmoor prison, which has a high Covid-19 infection rate.

Maré is accused of "digital rape" (sexual penetration using his fingers) of girls he filmed for his modelling agency last year.

State prosecutor Mabhongo Bulana said more rape charges could be added as more victims came forward. There was also the possibility of child pornography charges being added over material discovered on his electronic devices.

Several community members were in court after they protested outside against Maré's release on bail.

SA Youth Council Western Cape secretary Zuko Mndayi said he was disappointed by the bail decision.

"We are of the view that courts are meant to protect vulnerable groups in our society, particularly given the onslaught targeted at women and children," said Mndayi.

"We frown upon the decision of the court as we believe it demoralises victims of rape from speaking out against those ranked socially higher."

The case was postponed to September 23 for further investigation.

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