An inmate at the Windhoek Correctional Facility, who is serving a sentence for murder, escaped further sanctions when he was acquitted on a charge of raping a fellow inmate.
Edwin Thourob was accused of raping a fellow inmate by inserting his private part into the anus of the complainant under coercive circumstances and then threatened to kill the complainant if he reported the matter.
Regional magistrate Justine Asino, however, found that the evidence presented by the State is riddled with inconsistencies and contradictions, which raised countless doubts to her. Therefore, she said, the State did not prove the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt.
According to the indictment, Thourob and the complainant shared a cell with 24 other inmates – and on 29 July 2017, the accused raped him at night.
The complainant claimed that while sleeping, he felt a weight on his back – and when he turned around, he saw the accused on his back, inserting his private part into his anus.
He then asked the accused, “Aggies, what are you doing”, but the accused just continued.
He again asked, “Aggies, what are you doing”, and the accused then withdrew and went back to his bed.
The complainant said he then went to the toilet to relieve himself and decided not to tell anyone until the next day, as the accused is popular within the cellblock.
The next day, however, when he informed a correctional officer, the officer refused to take his complaint seriously and refused to help him – and he let it go until two months after the incident when he reported it to his then-defence counsel, Trevor Brockerhoff, who brought it to the attention of the head of the section.
The officer, in his evidence, disputed that the complainant ever told him about a rape incident and further said that even if he refused to help, the complainant could have approached any other officer on duty.
Three cellmates of the complainant and Thourob also gave evidence that is in direct contrast to the version of the complainant.
While he claimed that his bed was next to a broken window and there was ample light for him to identify the accused, the witnesses testified that there was no broken window – and when it is lights out, the cell becomes pitch black.
This, they said, would have made it impossible for the complainant to see anything. They also testified the beds are 30cm apart, which would have alerted anyone of them if someone is doing anything dodgy.
The inmate, who shared a bunkbed with the complainant, further testified that he would have observed if anything was going on, on the lower bed, if anything.
They also all painted the complainant as an aggressive person and said he fabricated the story to get back at Thourob. They said Thourob and the complainant were close, and even shared food and toiletries.
According to Magistrate Asino, all the evidence against the complainant suggests exactly that. She asked why, when the complainant realised there was someone on his back, he did not cry out for help or push the person from his back.
She further wanted to know whether the reason for him not screaming was that he was afraid and asked if the accused had a weapon to intimidate him, or if the accused threatened him before.
Since the complainant could not answer any of the questions, she said she has no option but to find the accused not guilty and acquit him on all charges.
Thourob was represented by Jermaine Muchali on instructions of Legal Aid and the State by Public Prosecutor Maureen Hinda.