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Singer denies sex charges

2009-11-02 19:30
Pretoria - Afrikaans singer Jurie Els pleaded not guilty in the North Gauteng High Court on Monday to charges of sexually molesting fellow singer Robbie Klay.

Els gave no explanation of his plea, placing the onus on the State to prove its case against him.

He faces two charges of indecently assaulting Klay while Klay was between the ages of 11 and 16 and a charge of soliciting Klay to commit an indecent act.

The State alleges Els had sexually molested and sodomised Klay for years at various places in the country, and allegedly manipulated Klay to take part in these actions.

Public trial

Acting Judge Chris Eksteen turned down the prosecution's application for Klay to testify behind closed doors about the events that led to his tell-all tale in the media and the eventual criminal charges against Els.

Eksteen underlined the constitutionally enshrined principal that trials should be held in public.

He said it should be borne in mind that Klay had already in the past revealed the events that allegedly took place to the media and had not hesitated to reveal his own identity.

Corlie Bouwer, for the State, argued that although some information surrounding the criminal charges was already in the public domain, not all of the painful, humiliating and crass detail was.

"It is simply not in the public interest to read over breakfast in the morning paper about this type of detail," Bouwer said.

Danie Dorfling, Els' lawyer, opposed the application, saying the accused's right to a fair trial included the right to a public trial and the state had not presented any evidence why the court should grant such an extraordinary request.

"The complainant in this case exercised his discretion to tell his story to the whole world and to involve both the printed and electronic media," Dorfling contended.

"He made atrocious allegations against the accused. He was man enough to tell it to the world, but now that the hour has come for him to be held accountable, he tries to hide behind the walls of the court."

Klay to testify

Klay, who was present in court on Monday while the State applied for an in camera hearing, will begin testifying on Tuesday morning.

Judge Eksteen granted Els access on Monday to further information that has come to light since another judge last week granted a similar application.

This includes access to the computers and hand written notes of the investigating officer.

Els was also granted access to the computer of record company owner Koos van Rensburg, who reportedly initially portrayed himself to the police and media as Klay's attorney, but was according to Dorfling not an admitted attorney.

This was after Dorfling complained that the State had "misled" the court about the information in its possession.

He questioned the integrity of the police investigation, saying there may have been up to 22 different versions of Klay's statement to the investigating officer, instead of the single statement referred to by the State.

The trial continues on Tuesday.
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