03 Jul 2013 06:40
OSHAKATI, 03 JUL (NAMPA) - An Angolan traditional healer who faces multiple charges of rape in the Namibian High Court at Oshakati, will learn his fate on Friday next week.
The 66-year-old Bonifatius Mbwale on Tuesday made another appearance in the court at Oshakati before Judge Christie Liebenberg, who adjourned the case to 12 July this year for judgment and sentencing.
A week ago, Liebenberg convicted Mbwale on seven counts of the 13 counts of rape he initially faced.
Mbwale is said to have engaged in sexual intercourse with several of his clients under the pretext of healing them at Omutakuwakaupa and Onhuno from 2009 until before his arrest by the Ohangwena police in November 2011.
He has been in police custody since then.
Defence lawyer Pieter Greyling of Jan Greyling and Associates at Oshakati on Tuesday called three witnesses to testify in Mbwale?s favour.
The three witnesses, who are all former clients of Mbwale?s, described him as a kind person who provided genuine traditional healing to many members of the community at his clinics at the Omutakuwakaupa village in the Omusati Region and at the Onhuno village in the Ohangwena Region.
?He has healed so many people and those who have accused him and caused him to be convicted of rape, have done so just because they are jealous of him,? one of the three witnesses told the court on Tuesday morning before Liebenberg adjourned the hearing until Tuesday afternoon.
The hearing resumed at 14h15 on Tuesday afternoon with arguments between Greyling (defence lawyer) and Advocate Dominic Lisulo for the State.
Greyling asked that the court pass an appropriate sentence by considering Mbwale?s old age, the fact that his highest level of education was Grade Four, and that he is father of 30 children who depend entirely on him.
Lisulo, on his part, appealed to the court to consider the purpose of punishment as a deterrent to would-be offenders, as well as the nature of the offence and the period of time over which Mbwale committed the rapes.
A case of a healer practicing 'sexual healing', Lisulo said, has not been experienced in the Namibian courts since the enactment of the Combating of Rape Act, Act No. 8 of 2000.
Lisulo suggested that Mbwale be sentenced to at least 15 years per each of the seven counts of rape he was convicted of, while Greyling proposed a sentence of five years per each of the seven counts.