Nicholas Ninow has been accused of rape after being found naked with a seven-year-old girl in a Dros toilet in Silverton, Pretoria, last weekend. Child rapists are seldom convicted for their crimes, as minors rarely have the recourse or agency to speak out. Nicholas was caught in public, on camera. We hope that should he be found guilty, we will see the justice all-too-often denied to victims, and minors in particular. Here’s what you need to know about the ‘Dros rapist’ case so far:
The charges against Nicholas Ninow
Nicholas Ninow has been charged with rape, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, intimidation and possession of drugs. He has not formally pleaded yet. Civil rights group Not In My Name SA and political party EFF have argued that the charge of attempted murder should be added to ensure the accused receives a sentence that fits the gravity of his crime. The ANC Women’s League called for chemical castration.
‘We want attempted murder to be included in the charge sheet because this person almost murdered a child, it’s not just rape,’ said Not in My Name SA’s Themba Masango.
Trial proceedings so far
His next court appearance will be on 1 November to allow for further investigation. Until then, Nicholas will be in police custody and there will be no bail application. According to the Mail & Guardian, the state has requested his phone as it is believed to contain ‘substantial evidence’, but the defence has cited the accused’s right against self-incrimination. Legal Aid’s Riaan du Plessis has put on record the accused’s four injuries (three sustained at the restaurant where customers hit him with a broken beer bottle and one allegedly sustained in police custody).
Visibility, the media and social media
Nicholas Ninow appeared at the Pretoria Magistrates Court on Tuesday wearing a grey hood covering his face. This angered the courtroom and people chanted for him to remove his hoodie. While Nicholas’ name and face have been all over social media, the media was only allowed to photograph court proceedings after advocate Willem de Klerk’s application to do so was granted. The advocate explained that the public had a right to know what was happening in court, despite the visibility being called ‘inhumane’ by Nicholas’ lawyer Rian du Plessis.
Journalists have been asked by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) not to interview witnesses who may have been present at Dros Restaurant as it could jeopardise the police investigation.
NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku has stated that: ‘Once the accused person has appeared in an open court, underline open court, and they’re older than the age of 18, then the name and the identity of the accused person can be revealed.’ As such, the media has been granted permission to photograph and name Nicholas Ninow as of Tuesday.