Nicholas Ninow, the man who pleaded guilty to raping a 7-year-old girl in the bathroom of a Dros restaurant in Pretoria in 2018, has officially been found guilty.
At the start of his trial last week, Ninow pleaded guilty to two charges of rape as well as charges of defeating the ends of justice and the possession of an illegal substance. But he pleaded not guilty to assault. The State also withdrew a kidnapping charge.
READ | Dros trial: Ninow planned to rape someone at the restaurant - State
But the State rejected his guilty pleas on the basis that aspects of his story contradicted the State's evidence. As a result, the trial proceeded.
Handing down judgment on Monday, Judge Mokhine Mosopa found Ninow guilty of rape and accepted the State's version of events.
"The only reasonable inference the court can draw is that the accused saw the victim playing in the play area, saw her going to the bathroom, followed her and then undressed and raped her," Mosopa said.
Ninow was also found guilty of possession of drugs, and defeating the ends of justice
He was found not guilty of assault.
In the trial, which took four days to complete, the State called six witnesses, including the victim, focusing on the sequence of events. Ninow's Legal Aid lawyer Herman Alberts closed his case without calling any witnesses.
While he admitted raping the victim, by forcing his penis into her mouth and inserting his fingers into her vagina, he claimed the victim found him in the bathroom and that he acted impulsively.
In his plea explanation, he said he went to the women's bathroom to snort the drug CAT because he was afraid of being caught.
But the State disputed this, saying Ninow planned the assault and preyed on the victim, following her into the bathroom.
News24 previously reported that the mother of the victim had found Ninow naked in the bathroom with her daughter.
READ | 'No parent should see what I witnessed' - mother of Dros rape victim
"No parent should ever see what I witnessed," she told the court.
She testified that Ninow came out of the toilet and ran to the men's bathroom. She then retrieved her child and handed her over to someone before running back to confront Ninow.
"Then I found him cleaning himself with my child's clothes."
According to the mother, Ninow also told them not to disturb him as they tried to force the toilet stall open. The victim called out for her mother, the court heard.