One of the Cameroonian men accused of running a brothel in Brooklyn has been acquitted of 27 charges after his lawyer brought a special application to have certain charges, including rape, dropped.
This was revealed at the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday, as cousins Edward and Yannick Ayuk returned for their ongoing human trafficking trial.
The duo, along with Edward’s wife, Leandre Williams, faced over 40 charges after allegedly operating a brothel in Milnerton where they forced unsuspecting victims to use drugs and work as prostitutes.
According to the indictment, Leandre is accused of recruiting three women from Springbok by promising them work in Cape Town but when they arrived, she with Edward and Yannick forced the women to use drugs and work on the streets.
The women said they were held captive in a house in Frank Robb Street.
Six of them managed to escape by either reaching out to their families or police for help, and the trio were arrested by the Hawks five years ago.
They have denied all the charges against them.
Leandre admitted that she did sex work to support her two kids and said between 2014 and 2015, along with a friend, she rented a room in Bellville where she prostituted herself.
After the State closed its case, defence lawyer Bashier Sibda brought a special application calling for Judge Alma de Wet to acquit the accused on several charges.
In his submission, Sibda said the State had failed to prove Yannick had committed any of the rapes he was accused of, as State witnesses told the court they were not raped.
De Wet ruled that 27 charges be dropped against Yannick while Edward was acquitted of four counts of rape. Edward also took the stand for the first time yesterday as he explained his life with Leandre.
He told the court that he first came to South Africa in January 2006, and sold sunglasses, cellphone chargers and winter caps at traffic lights for an income.
He met Leandre in a club in Parow and fell in love when she taught him how to play pool.
They later got married at Home Affairs in Malmesbury and settled at their home in Brooklyn. He said he opened two huiswinkels in Delft and after the marriage soured, Leandre moved back to Springbok with the couple’s two laaities.
He said that following a Road Accident Fund claim, Leandre got a klomp kroon and bought herself a house in her hometown.
He said he would drive to Springbok to fetch his children for visits but never spent time in the dorp.
The case continues.