Judge slams police handling of Verulam rape case

Judge slams police handling of Verulam rape case

The presiding judge in the Verulam child rape trial has criticised the way police initially handled the case.

Durban High Court generic
Nushera Soodyal

A 45-year-old man is on trial in the Durban High Court for allegedly repeatedly sexually abusing his young stepdaughter.

The man was arrested after the child - who was 11 at the time - confided in a neighbour.

One of the investigating officers testified on Monday. 

Judge Mohini Moodley asked Warrant Officer Nervarge Lutchminarain why officers sent the child back to her neighbour's home after making a statement at the police station.

The girl had taken refuge there after apparently being sjambokked by her stepfather.

Judge Moodley said crucial evidence could have been lost as a result of officers not having immediately taken the child to a hospital.  

She said there were also many other risks involved in sending the child home.

Lutchminarain told the court that officers had initially received a report of the child being assaulted - but later realised they were also dealing with a rape case.

State prosecutor, Cheryl Naidu intervened and explained that the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit was brought in as soon as this became apparent.

Naidu says a department hearing was held about the way the matter was handled.

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