State’s case is weak, says former Parktown Boys’ boarding master facing sex abuse‚ murder charges

Parktown Boys’ High School former assistant water polo coach Collan Rex should be acquitted on charges of rape‚ attempted murder‚ assault and sexual assault‚ his lawyer said on Friday.

Advocate William Robertse argued at the South Gauteng High Court‚ sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court‚ that the state’s case was weak.

“The evidence of the state and that of the complainants is of poor quality and can’t be relied be upon‚” he said. “The accused should not be found guilty on all the counts that he is challenging.”

But prosecutor Arveena Persad said: “His evidence‚ when he defers on the state’s case‚ cannot be accepted.”

Rex‚ 22‚ is facing 142 counts. He faced 327 counts when his trial started in August. But at the start of his trial‚ he pleaded guilty to 144 counts of sexual assault against 12 of 23 boys who are complainants in the sex scandal that has rocked the school in Johannesburg.

TimesLIVE reported earlier this week that although Rex had pleaded not guilty to attempted murder‚ he admitted to choking a number of pupils during 2016 but said there was no intent to murder them.

He described it as a game where he and the pupils understood that they could opt out of a chokehold by “tapping out”.

In earlier testimony‚ pupils gave harrowing accounts of alleged sexual abuse. A 17-year-old became emotional after describing how the coach would grab boys by their “nuts” and would only let go if they whistled.

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