Verdict in alleged corporal punishment case postponed to Thurs.

12 Jun 2013 11:30
WINDHOEK, 12 JUN (NAMPA) - Judgement of a trial in which four teachers of the Windhoek Gymnasium Private School face charges of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, will be delivered in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court here on Thursday.
Windhoek Magistrate Helvi Kauna Shilemba will deliver the verdict at 08h00.
The judgement was expected to be handed down on Wednesday afternoon, but it was however remanded until Thursday morning on an agreement reached by the four accused teachers' defence lawyer, Advocate Raymond Heathcote (senior counsel-SC) and Public Prosecutor Eric Naikaku.
The four accused teachers are Stephanus van Zyl, Etiene Odendaal, George Frederick Maartens and Estelle Oberholzer (ages not given).
The four were arrested by the Namibian Police after they allegedly beat a Grade Nine learner in 2010 with objects, varying from blunt pieces of wood to blunt wooden sticks.
Earlier reports by the 'New Era' daily newspaper had it that the incident resulted in the boy's father removing his son from that school.
Last Octoberduring trial, Heathcote applied for the discharge of his clients after the State had closed its case.
However, Public Prosecutor Naikaku successfully opposed this discharge application on behalf of the State, and the accused persons were put on their defence.
According to Heathcote, Namibian law makes provision for a parent to chastise a child.
?The charges were laid against the four accused persons by the disgruntled father, who himself is also a teacher who allegedly believes in corporal punishment, but disagreed with corporal punishment when it came too close to home,? Heathcote submitted.
He further argued that at the time the father of the victim knew very well that the Windhoek Gymnasium Private School is run on Christian principles, and that corporal punishment is an integral part of its code of conduct.
Heathcote also argued that Section 56 of the Namibian Education Act is not applicable to private schools, and that once a parent hands over a child to a teacher, the parent automatically delegates parental authority over the child to the teacher.
However, Naikaku disagreed, saying it would be a 'travesty of justice' if the accused persons were not made to answer for their actions.
Naikaku said the parents of the victim never gave consent to the school to administer corporal punishment on their son.