Home News Child rape, murder accused abandons bail

Child rape, murder accused abandons bail

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24-YEAR-old Itumeleng Machabe, who is accused of murder, as well as raping two girls, abandoned his bail application in the Galeshewe Magistrate’s Court.

Itumeleng Machabe. Picture: Soraya Crowie

24-YEAR-old Itumeleng Machabe, who is accused of murder, as well as raping two girls, abandoned his bail application in the Galeshewe Magistrate’s Court.

Machabe was charged for the rape and murder of 11-year-old Relebogile Segami, whose naked body was found dumped in the veld behind the Northern Cape provincial legislature building on March 31.

He was also charged for the rape of a 15-year-old girl.

Machabe’s legal representative, Chwaro Kgotlagomang, stated on Friday that his client was not able to apply for bail as the DNA results were not available yet.

“The State gave an undertaking that the DNA results would be available one week after the last court postponement. Six weeks ago we were informed that the results would be available.”

He added that his client had been painted as guilty in the public eye.

“The matter has enjoyed publicity on television, in newspapers and on social media. The accused does not want to be exposed to threats to his life without being cleared by the court. To minimise any risk to his safety my client has decided to postpone bail.”

Kgotlagomang believed that the DNA results would “exclude” Machabe from the commission of the crime.

“It is the only stumbling block that is standing in the way of his right to freedom. The only thing that links the accused to the crime is that he was the last person to be seen with the deceased child.”

Kgotlagomang pointed out that DNA results were now posted on a SAPS website.

“It is not as if the police have to drive to the laboratory in Cape Town or Pretoria to collect the results. According to the State, the DNA analysis is completed and it just needs to be collected.

“If the scientific evidence is not made available by the next court date, the defence will request an enquiry into the undue delays. My client has a right to a speedy trial.”

He stated that Machabe was being prejudiced while incarcerated as he was a student whose right to education was being violated.

“The accused cannot apply for bail until the DNA results are provided to demonstrate whether he is linked to the commission of the offence. If his DNA is linked then he knows where he belongs. The non-committal approach as to when these results will be available demonstrates the unpreparedness of the State. There has been no willingness to expedite the matter.”

State prosecutor Fatima Monyobo said that the DNA results still needed to be collected.

“The investigating officer indicated that the results were not available on the website and therefore a police officer will drive to Cape Town to physically collect the results. We cannot exclude there being further challenges in obtaining the results by a specific date if there are further difficulties experienced,” said Monyobo.

She added that the State could not be held responsible for delays at the forensic laboratory.

“The DNA results alone will not be sufficient to exonerate the accused due to the complexities of the case.There is also a possibility that the case may be referred to a regional or high court.”

Monyobo said that Machabe was free to apply for bail at any time.

“A bail application cannot be postponed for longer than seven days. However, it would be premature to guarantee that the DNA results will be available within the next week.”

She believed that the defence was trying to “force the hand of the State” by trying to rush the process.

“The State has already expedited the release of the forensic evidence as it can typically take up to six months to be finalised. Why should the accused be given special preference while others have to wait in line? There is nothing special about the accused. ”

She said the prosecution would withdraw the charges should the DNA results clear Machabe.

Magistrate Jerry Tsatsimpe pointed out that the charges against Machabe were very serious.

“The matter has not been on the court roll for very long. It was placed on the roll on April 4, where it was postponed for bail information on April 13. The matter was then postponed for a joinder application (of the two rape cases) on April 25. It was postponed until May 19 for a Directorate of Public Prosecutions instruction and outstanding post-mortem, DNA results and was postponed until June 17 for a bail application. It would not be prudent to grant a final remand date.”

He postponed the matter until July 8 for further investigation.

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