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Child rape accused fit to stand trial

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Moses Monnapule, 45, is accused of kidnapping and raping two girls, aged six and eight years at the time, in his shanty in Madiba Square in June 2015.

PROCEED: Moses Monnapule, who is accused of kidnapping and raping two young girls in his shanty, appeared in the Northern Cape High Court on Monday.

AFTER several postponements lasting more than two years, the trial of the man accused raping two young girls in Galeshewe got underway in the Northern Cape High Court on Monday.

Moses Monnapule, 45, is accused of kidnapping and raping two girls, aged six and eight years at the time, in his shanty in Madiba Square in June 2015.

Dr Zygmunt Piotrowski, who took the stand on Monday, said during his testimony that Monnapule had undergone two separate mental evaluations, adding that the findings of the second evaluation were more conclusive than the first.

Monnapule was referred for mental evaluation after he repeatedly indicated that he was unhealthy and unfit to stand trial.

His case was postponed several times after the accused experienced fits and reported feeling sickly.

Monnapule also said he was depressed, was hearing voices and was bewitched.

Piotrowski said he found that Monnapule was fit to stand trial and was able to follow court proceedings.

“The accused was not very co-operative during the interview to determine mental illness. This was evident in the way he avoided the questions while he repeatedly said he did not know what rape was. That answer, however, contradicted his responses about what he was doing at the time of the alleged incident. That led us to the conclusion that the accused appreciated the wrongfulness of his actions, which was further supported by statements from the police. We were not sure whether the accused was intoxicated at the time of the offence but intoxication is no excuse. I recommend that the law takes its course,” Piotrowski said.

He added that they also later determined that Monnapule was malingering, meaning that he was pretending to be mentally unfit in order to avoid his trial.

“During the first evaluation, it was decided not to assume that he was malingering. The accused could not answer simple questions. This was even after we knew that he was not forgetful. We were at the time, however, not sure if he was malingering.

“In some instances, this was evident as he stated that the date was February 2000. This was despite the fact he was not disoriented or confused. He also said a dog has only two legs and later changed his answer, stating it has many legs. That is clearly not a case of mental illness, but an indication that, at the time, he was just pretending to be mentally ill.

“It later became more evident that he controlled his answers. The accused could clearly describe and relay the events of deceased family members visiting him in his single cell. He said the family members were angry that he did not come home. He could describe what they looked like. Such visual hallucination does not exist with mental illness,” Piotrowski said.

The defence submitted that Monnapule’s state of intoxication may have left him with some memory loss of what transpired on the night of the incident.

Piotrowski, however, disagreed and said that if Monnapule was heavily intoxicated it would have meant that he would have been unable to commit the offence.

“In a situation where a person has consumed mandrax and alcohol, that person will be very sleepy as both substances can induce such a state. During heavy intoxication, a person is not able to do much, like move around or talk or even have sexual intercourse. The memory of that person will also be hazy. From the evidence of the dockets of the witnesses, this was not the case. The accused was able to move and talk and was in control of what he was doing,” he said.

Acting Judge Vernon Smith, after evaluating the evidence presented by Piotrowski, found that Monnapule was fit to stand trial and able to follow court proceedings to make a proper defence.