PE businessman acquitted of sex assault

iol news pic lady justice nov 09 INDEPENDENT MEDIA File photo

Port Elizabeth – A Port Elizabeth businessman, Johann Dreyer, who was accused of the rape and sexual assault on two of his former employees, has been acquitted.

Dreyer was found not guilty in the Port Elizabeth Regional Court on Thursday.

He previously pleaded not guilty to all charges which included one count of rape and two counts of sexual assault which had allegedly occurred during August 2014.

Dreyer is the owner of popular accommodation which includes Beacon Lodge, Crow’s Nest and the King’s Tide Boutique Hotel along the Port Elizabeth beachfront.

Magistrate Lionel Lindoor made the ruling on Thursday in terms of section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act, this after Defence Advocate Terry Price had brought an application for the discharge of the case.

Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act allows a judicial officer to legally exonerate an accused from the State’s claim that a crime has been committed.

In making his ruling, Lindoor briefly went through Dreyer’s plea explanation while some details from both the complainants’ testimony also came to light.

Previously details of the alleged incidents were not available as the testimony of the complainants was heard in camera.

In his plea explanation, Dreyer had “stressed” that three people were part of a conspiracy to “bring him down” because he had fired them or because he had not been satisfied with the standard of their work.

In his ruling, Lindoor, referred to the Shrien Dewani murder case which was thrown out of the Cape Town High Court by Judge Jeannette Traverso in 2014.

Lindoor said that Traverso had made a number of interesting findings relating to a discharge of this nature. “The learned Judge found that credibility cannot simply be ignored, where witnesses are clearly lying, credibility can surely not survive scrutiny to the extent that the application will be refused,” Lindoor said.

Lindoor added that it was his view that none of the complainants had any corroboration of any nature.

In addition, Lindoor assessed the defence’s argument that the evidence presented by Prosecutor Kenny van Biljoen was of “poor quality”.

Lindoor said that it did not make sense to him that one of the complainant only reported the matter eight months after she had been fired and he further found several contradictions in her evidence.

“She had numerous opportunities to report the alleged incidents but she chose consciously not to report, she decided to see a doctor, but chose not to tell her doctor about the alleged rape,” said Lindoor.

He said the second complainant never took opportunities to challenge Dreyer on his alleged inappropriate behavior of “hugs and kisses” towards her.

“In her resignation letter, she makes no reference to sexual behavior but in fact thanks the accused for the opportunity,” Lindoor said.

Lindoor also questioned the complainant’s actions in accepting another job offer made by Dreyer.

“If she was so upset, she would not so readily accept the job offer.”

Lindoor concluded by saying that the evidence provided was of a poor standard and that he was not satisfied that their testimony was reliable enough to find Dreyer guilty.

“I am not saying that they are lying, but looking at the evidence holistically, it is not enough to find the accused guilty.”

African News Agency

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