Model agency owner accused of child rape gets bail despite protest

14 July 2020 - 16:45 By Aron Hyman and Philani Nombembe
Nicholas Maré is accused of raping girls at his Cape Town modelling agency. File photo.
Nicholas Maré is accused of raping girls at his Cape Town modelling agency. File photo.
Image: 123RF/Stockstudio44

APOLOGY: We apologise to everyone who saw the inappropriate picture we used to illustrate below story about a model agency owner who is accused of raping a girl, "Model agency owner accused of child rape gets bail despite protest" (July 15). The photograph showed the back of a young woman wearing a micro mini. In the context of the story, the picture seemed to suggest a sexualised representation of the alleged victims. This was a deplorable lack of judgment on our part. We take very seriously the terrible toll that rape and sexual abuse have on the children and the women in our society, and we regularly report on this scourge. We accept that using a picture such as the one in this instance sets back the discussion about the depth of the problem and the steps necessary to address it. We offer our heartfelt and sincere apologies. Disciplinary action against those responsible is in process. - ed

Model agency owner and alleged child rapist Nicholas Maré was granted R10,000 bail in the Cape Town magistrate's court on Tuesday, but was placed under house arrest.

The court accepted a prosecution report giving reasons why Maré, of Tarito Model Management in the Cape Town city centre, should not be released on bail. These included reports of previous arrests for sexual deviancy.

Defence attorney William Booth put up an extensive fight over the admissibility of the document, which he referred to as "a letter".

Magistrate Ronelle Olivier accepted the document as admissible.

In her reasons for granting bail she said as a mother, a woman and a community member,  her knee-jerk reaction would have been to deny bail.

"South Africa suffers a crippling scourge of gender-based violence. The general misconception by the public when people are arrested and charged with cases like this is that they should not be granted bail. Unfortunately, the law does not allow for such a simplistic interpretation," she said.

"Now is not the time to approach this application with emotions and hysteria. I live in a community where I see this every day. We see cases like this coming through this court every day. As President Cyril Ramaphosa said, there is a war on women and children.

"There are those who scream for revenge and retribution. He's guilty, he's guilty, he's guilty. I say leave that for the trial court."

Olivier said one of the reasons she granted bail was that Maré had underlying health conditions which would put his life at risk if he were kept in custody at Pollsmoor prison, which has a high Covid-19 infection rate.

Maré is accused of "digital rape" (sexual penetration using his fingers) of girls he filmed for his modelling agency last year.

State prosecutor Mabhongo Bulana said more rape charges could be added as more victims came forward. There was also the possibility of child pornography charges being added over material discovered on his electronic devices.

Several community members were in court after they protested outside against Maré's release on bail.

SA Youth Council Western Cape secretary Zuko Mndayi said he was disappointed by the bail decision.

"We are of the view that courts are meant to protect vulnerable groups in our society, particularly given the onslaught targeted at women and children," said Mndayi.

"We frown upon the decision of the court as we believe it demoralises victims of rape from speaking out against those ranked socially higher."

The case was postponed to September 23 for further investigation.