27 Sep 2018 14:30pm
WINDHOEK, 27 SEP (NAMPA) A Swakopmund resident found guilty of harbouring minor children for sexual exploitation, will be sentenced in the High Court here next month.
High Court Judge-President Petrus Damaseb, who presided over the trial, will hand down a ruling on the sentence on 11 October 2018.
On 18 September 2018, Bertus Koch, 41, was found guilty on five counts of receiving and harbouring five minor girls between the ages of nine and 13 for sexual exploitation between November 2015 and May 2016 in the DRC informal settlement in Swakopmund.
Koch was also found guilty on five alternative counts dealt with under the provisions of the Combating of Indecent and Immoral Practices Act 7 of 2000 for having exposed the five minor girls to pornographic material and for undressing himself and exposing his private parts in full view of the girls.
In her submissions in respect of the type of sentence to be imposed, State Advocate Innocentia Nyoni asked for a direct custodial sentence because Koch took advantage of the youthfulness and vulnerability of the victims to sexually exploit them.
Koch's State-funded defence lawyer Mpokiseng Dube asked the court to impose a lenient sentence because his client has HIV/Aids and is an anti-retroviral treatment.
During judgement, Judge-President Damaseb said he was satisfied that the State proved its case beyond reasonable doubt, that the accused had indeed received and kept the five minor girls on several occasions inside his corrugated iron-zinc house for sexual exploitation.
Koch was, however, found not guilty and discharged on five counts of rape following the prosecutions failure to prove these charges beyond reasonable doubt.
There is no physical evidence before court showing that the accused had indeed raped the five complainants. The testimonies of the complainants in respect of the charges of rape are contradictory, full of discrepancies and inconsistent, said Damaseb.
Evidence presented before court during trial had it that Koch lured the minor girls into his house with the promise of food and sweets.
His trial was conducted behind closed doors as the victims were all minors.
Koch is a first offender with no record of previous criminal offences.
He remains in police custody at the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility since his arrest, with no option to post bail.