Will alleged Verulam rapist get bail?

The 43-year-old suspect is facing charges of sexual grooming, rape, sexual assault, exposing a child to pornographic material and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

A Verulam man (left) accused of raping his 10-year-old stepdaughter appearing in court. Picture: Ziyanda Ngcobo/EWN.

DURBAN - A Verulam man accused of raping his stepdaughter 900 times over a five-year period will know on Friday if he will be released on bail.

The 43-year-old suspect is facing charges of sexual grooming, rape, sexual assault, exposing a child to pornographic material and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The victim, who is now 10 years old, is in a place of safety while the State works to place her in a school.

Much of Thursday’s proceedings focused on the strength of the State’s case, the alleged threats made to the victim and if these would interfere with the matter going ahead, as well as weighing how likely it is that the accused would leave the country if he were to be released.

Defence lawyer Mondli Mthethwa says the courts must look at the witness whom he says should be viewed with caution because she is a child and no one will be able to corroborate her story, which he says could have been manipulated.

He also went on to say the fact that the State has failed to get DNA despite claiming that the victim was being raped every second day warrants this caution.

On the other hand, State lawyer San Bhartu says the accused lied about his place of employment, and she’s pointed out that he has no fixed assets, positive identification or family ties in the area.

She says the probability of heavy sentences being imposed show a high risk that the accused will abscond.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)