South Africa News

Former SA teacher pleads not guilty 36 years after alleged s.e.x assault

A former South African teacher wanted by UK authorities on allegations of 84 counts of the s.e.xual assault of young boys is continuing to fight his extradition order and has now pleaded not guilty to a charge of indecent assault after an alleged male victim came forward after more than 30 years.

Iain Wares’ alleged victim, dubbed “Stephen” in order to protect him, now aged 47, who had been 12 at the time of the alleged abuse at Rondebosch Boys Preparatory during 1988, took the witness stand in the Wynberg Regional court to give vital evidence.

Wares, 84, appeared fragile, and entered the courtroom with a walking stick yesterday.

His lawyer, Ben Matthewson, made a request for Wares to sit next to him during his proceedings as Wares could not hear properly due to his age and the glass screen inside the room used for Covid-19 protocols.

State prosecutor Rafeeqa Cornelius told the court Wares was facing one count of indecent assault which took place in Rondebosch in 1988, where he had allegedly indecently assaulted a male victim between the ages of 12 and 13 years old by touching his buttocks and penis and rubbing his penis up against the victim.

Wares pleaded not guilty.

A plea explanation via his lawyer, handed in as evidence confirming his not guilty plea, did not detail why he chose to stand against the charge.

To protect their witness, the State brought an application for proceedings to be held in camera, which was granted, and the media, including a UK newspaper, were asked to leave the courtroom.

The victim, who appeared calm and confident, walked into the courtroom and passed Wares as he entered the dock.

In Cape Town, Wares was a teacher at St George’s Grammar School and Rondebosch Boys Preparatory during the 1980s and 1990s before retiring in 2006.

Wares is fighting another battle, that of an extradition request made by the UK in 2018 and a warrant issued for his arrest in 2019.

Wares initially made a written affidavit of admissions to having inappropriate urges to touch boys and to sexually abusing them but it was retracted with the claim that he had been ill-advised.

The allegation relates to 42 former students of Wares in the UK who are all now beyond the age of 60, and the incidents of apparent sexual and physical abuse took place between the 1960s and 1970s at schools such as Edinburgh Academy and Fettes College.

Wares was ordered to the UK to stand trial on six charges of lewd, indecent and libidinous practices and behaviour, and one charge of indecent assault, for which his extradition is sought with seven counts.

Wares has since brought an appeal for his extradition which continues at the Cape High Court.

Women and Men Against Child Abuse founder, Miranda Jordan, was in tears as the victim took the stand, stating it had been over 14 months of waiting including preparing him for his brave testimony as he was a father and husband.

WMACA said Stephen was very relieved to have testified and was able to say explicitly what Wares did to him as a young boy.

“We as WMACA feel this is a victory for children and adults who are now finally able to disclose very intimate details of what happened to them as children,” she said.

“The specialised Wynberg sexual offences court was cleared, so that Stephen could testify in camera, as he would have done as a 12-year old boy. We respect this decision by the court in protecting the victim/survivor’s identity.

“It has been 14 months and this has been emotional for me as well to watch him today, walking into that room and being so brave.”

-Weekend Argus

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