With a bald head, deep stitches on the right side of his face and wearing a grey sweater, the 20-year-old accused of raping a little girl in a Dros Silverton franchise seemed slightly confused, emotional and close to tears in court on Tuesday.
He cannot be identified before he pleads yet for legal reasons, though by now everyone knows who he is.
Scores of people, political parties and organisations had picketed outside the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court ahead of the accused’s bail application.
The Pretoria man caused outrage across the country last week when he was caught naked in the toilets of the eatery after he allegedly raped a seven-year-old girl.
But his current injuries, including a cut across his head and a bloodshot left eye and at least four stitches on his head and neck, were a result of mob justice, the court heard.
According to his lawyer Riaan Du Plessis, the injuries come from being hit over the head with a beer bottle by customers of the Dros when he was caught.
The accused also claimed he was assaulted by members of the Silverton police station who kicked him in the eye after they told him to do push-ups. He also claimed to be assaulted with open hands and a belt by the same police, his lawyer said.
The accused, believed to be from Lynnwood, preyed on his victim at the kids’ area last weekend. When the little girl went to the toilets alone, the accused allegedly followed her snatched her and dragged her into a cubicle that was out of order, where he allegedly raped her.
Since last week, images of the accused have since gone viral, while a video emerged showing the suspect being caught naked with blood on his chest and his hands on his groin.
But the arrogance he showed in the video was not present in court. The accused seemed slightly scared, with tears seen in his eyes.
After an application was made by Media24 to film and shoot the proceedings, the accused’s lawyer Riaan Du Plessis argued that this would affect a fair trial as it would subject the accused to a trial by the media. He also argued that the media filming would infringe the suspects right to privacy.
But Magistrate Mali Mokoena granted the application after state prosecutor Sanet Jacobson argued that the suspects’ name and face were already published and circulated online and in newspapers.
The suspect, however, made a quick escape, successfully dodging the media after the permission was granted.
He came back several minutes later, wearing a hood over his head to cover his face.
This angered the full courtroom, with the public gallery chanting at him to take off his hoodie.
The matter was remanded and postponed to 1 November for further investigation as there are still outstanding witness statements and the accused has to hand in his phone to investigators. The suspect remains in custody.