10 Jul 2019 14:40pm
WINDHOEK, 10 JUL (NAMPA) - A former hostel caretaker at the Karundu Primary School in Otjiwarongo charged with the rape of 10 minor boys at the school hostel over a period of three years, is still without legal representation.
The 49-year-old Mervin Nguyapeua was over the past few weeks left without legal representation after his Legal Aid-funded defence lawyer, Milton Engelbrecht, withdrew from representing him after the two could not agree on how to proceed.
Nguyapeua made another appearance before High Court Judge Alfred Siboleka on Wednesday, when his alleged rape case was put on hold until 19 July 2019 in order to allow the Justice Ministry's Directorate of Legal Aid to appoint and instruct another lawyer to defend him.
It was however revealed in court on Wednesday that the Directorate of Legal Aid is now in the process of appointing and instructing Windhoek-based defence lawyer Vanessa Kauta to represent the accused during future court proceedings.
In the matter, on 20 June 2018, Nguyapeua denied committing the offenses when he entered 'not guilty pleas' to 32 charges of rape and 27 alternative charges of committing sexual acts involving 10 boys younger than 16 from 2013 to 2015 while employed as caretaker at that school hostel.
Nguyapeua made the pleas as per the instructions from his former state-funded lawyer Engelbrecht, when his trial kicked-off before Judge Siboleka on 20 June 2018.
At the time, Nguyapeua did not disclose anything in respect of his 'not guilty pleas' to the charges, and is now challenging the prosecution to prove each and every element contained in the charges against him.
According to a summary of substantial facts contained in the charge sheet, he allegedly committed the offences while living at the hostel of that school.
He was regarded as a father figure by the learners who stayed in the hostel at the time.
Nguyapeua remains in custody at the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility's trial-awaiting section, where he has been since his arrest with no option to post bail.
State advocate Seredine Jacobs is appearing for the prosecution.