The Daily Voice can reveal that all charges against Stanton Mano, the neighbour of little Chanelle McCrawl, have been dropped.
The child’s bludgeoned body was discovered on the banks of the Vygieskraal River on 20 October last year, a day after she had been reported missing.
Mano and Chanelle’s uncle, Carlo de Kock, were arrested shortly after the discovery and after spending almost nine months behind bars, the State has decided to withdraw the case against Mano but are proceeding with De Kock.
The duo appeared on closed circuit television at the Wynberg Magistrates’ Court on Monday and Mano smiled broadly as Magistrate Goolam Bawa made the announcement.
“Mr Mano, the State has withdrawn the case against you and you are now free. Mr De Kock, the case has now been postponed to 7 September and you will appear in the Cape High Court for your pre-trial hearings,” Bawa said.
Mano grinned at the camera and left the room as Bawa informed the court his family would collect him from Pollsmoor Prison later on Monday.
Both applied for bail earlier this year, but were denied.
According to an affidavit read out by Mano’s lawyer, Rustin Ravat, he said Mano should be released as he did not commit the crime.
However, he also did not state what had transpired in the Wendy house where De Kock lived.
Both men applied for Legal Aid lawyers.
Last year Ravat told the court he could not represent De Kock as there was a conflict of interest, but never stated what it was.
De Kock was assigned a lawyer from Judicare.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson, Eric Ntabazalila, says the case against Mano was withdrawn as there were no prospects of a successful prosecution.
According to a source, this is due to the DNA testing done on the two men after semen was found on Chanelle’s school pants.
He says DNA was initially taken from both men and while tests had confirmed that De Kock’s DNA was linked to the semen found, the lab had requested a second sample from Mano to be tested.
“The second test does not link him to the crime. He was arrested because he was placed at the scene by witnesses,” the source added.