A Windhoek resident accused of raping his biological daughter several times and forcing her to abort the foetus after impregnating her, has managed to secure the services of prominent criminal defence lawyer Mbanga Siyomunji.
Siyomunji came on board through an associate at his firm, as he is currently involved in a trial in the Swakopmund Magistrate’s Court. The associate confirmed that Siyomunji was retained by the man, who may not be named to protect the identity of his alleged victim, to defend him during the last stretch of his trial.
His previous lawyer Jermaine Muchali had to withdraw from the matter after the man terminated his Legal Aid instruction, and indicated that he will instruct Muchali on a private basis, who will then instruct Advocate James Diedericks.
However, during a subsequent court hearing, Muchali informed Windhoek High Court Judge Claudia Claasen that the man failed to put them in funds, and as such they cannot continue to defend him.
The man already started to testify in his own defence before he instructed Diedericks, who was supposed to guide him through the last of his testimony. He was also recently released from custody after successfully overturning a conviction of robbery in the High Court.
The accused is currently on warning on the rape case after the magistrate’s court struck his matter from the roll for a lack of the prosecutor general (PG)’s decision.
The State, however, later got their ducks in a row and resummoned him to stand trial after the PG decided he must stand trial in the High Court. Siyomunji, through his associate, on Friday asked the judge for an opportunity to acquaint himself with the matter. Claasen agreed, and remanded the matter to 16 May next year.
The man pleaded not guilty to several counts of rape, incest, sodomy and inducement of abortion before Claasen at the start of his trial. He is facing three counts of rape, alternatively incest, three counts of child trafficking, and two counts of assault by threat.
The State is alleging that the accused repeatedly raped his biological daughter, impregnated her, and then forced her to have an abortion. The abortion allegedly took place when the victim accompanied him during one of his various trips to Angola between 2010 and 2011.
The alleged rapes were also perpetrated while the victim accompanied the accused on his trips, and once during a family holiday in Swakopmund. The judge dismissed a section 174 application by the accused to be released after the close of the State’s case, saying he has a case to answer.
After his arrest, the accused undertook a lengthy bail application, which eventually saw him being released on bail in July 2014. It was during his release from custody that he allegedly carried out a daylight robbery and was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, of which five years were suspended, but it was overturned on appeal.
During the bail application, it was alleged in court that he made his daughter his wife, and the accused himself during cross-examination questioned whether the victim was his biological child.
The prosecution is represented by Palmer Khumalo.