08 Aug 2013 07:50
WINDHOEK, 08 AUG (NAMPA) - Judgement in the rape trial of four young men who allegedly sexually violated a teenage girl at a hostel at the Okakarara Secondary School in May 2008, was on Thursday put on hold until next week.
High Court Judge Nate Ndauendapo, who is presiding over the trial, could not hand down the verdict in the matter on Thursday because he was unable to finalise writing the judgement on time due to other equally-important official assignments.
The judgement in this case will now be made public on Thursday next week at about 14h15, said the Judge.
The four accused young men - Uazenga Tjamuaha, 20; Johnson Matundu, 21; Kahijambua Kamuingona, 21; and 20-year-old Utjatae Mureti - will either be acquitted on all charges levelled against them, or be found guilty as charged by the State.
The four are charged with 20 counts of rape, which are being dealt with under the provisions of the Combating of Rape Act of 2000.
The accused young men and the then 15-year-old complainant were learners at Okakarara Secondary School at the time of the alleged rape incident.
On 28 May this year, Judge Ndauendapo listened to submissions of evidence for acquittal and against acquittal by Government-sponsored defence lawyers Titus Mbaeva, Monty Karuaihe, Brownell Uirab and Edwin Coetzee, as well as by the State's representative, Deputy Prosecutor-General Karin Esterhuizen.
In their arguments for acquittal, the defence lawyers asked the court to set their clients free, saying the State had failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt that the complainant was indeed raped on 23 May 2008.
Upon a closer analysis of the totality of the evidence presented before court by the State, the complainant was not raped at all. The testimonies of the complainant and other State witnesses are inconsistent, and full of contradictions. The complainant had sexual intercourse with the accused persons willingly on that day. Therefore, in such circumstances, the accused persons cannot be found guilty of rape. The accused persons must be acquitted on all charges against them, said the four defence lawyers in their submissions of evidence for acquittal of their clients.
However, Deputy Prosecutor-General Esterhuizen, in her submissions of evidence against acquittal, said all four accused persons had taken turns to rape the complainant, and must thus be found guilty as charged.
During trial, the four accused persons claimed they had consensual intercourse with the complainant, and she was the one who initiated the sexual encounter that day.
According to a summary of substantial facts contained in the charge-sheet, the complainant and some of her friends were on their way to get food when two of the accused persons allegedly stopped her on 23 May 2008, after which her friends proceeded without her.
It is alleged that the first two accused persons dragged the complainant to a nearby toilet, where they took turns to rape her while one of them held her down.
It is further alleged that after the first two young men had finished raping her, they left the complainant crying in the toilet.
She then started to walk to the hostel, still crying, when she was called by the other two accused persons, who then also took turns to rape her.
All the accused persons pleaded not guilty to all the charges against them at the start of their case, and were released into the care of their respective parents.
They are all free on warnings.
They were again warned on Thursday to return to court on 15 August this year to hear the verdict.
The four defence lawyers are representing the accused persons on the instructions of the Justice Ministry's Directorate of Legal Aid.