WINDHOEK – Three men from Otjurukune Reserve in the district of Gobabis pleaded not guilty to nine counts of rape and one count of assault to cause grievous bodily harm this week when their trial started before Windhoek High Court Judge Naomi Shivute.
The state through Felicitas Sikerete-Vendura, however, withdrew a charge of common assault since the complainant in the charge is deceased, the court was told.
Jan Gemeng, Tjaava Ebson and Godlieb Rapanka Katuuo all answered not guilty through hastily brought-in interpreters from the lower court as the High Court casual interpreters are still withholding their services.
Their respective state-funded lawyers Mese Tjituri, Mbanga Siyomunji and Tjingairi Kaurivi confirmed the pleas and told the judge their clients will make use of their right to remain silent and put the state to prove each and every allegation against them.
The three accused are all charged with taking turns to rape a young woman at Otjurukune Reserve on 17 June 2014, while the others held her down.
According to the charge sheet, the complainant who may not be named was at a bar (Marina’s Place) at the reserve with her boyfriend and two other friends drinking alcohol and the accused were also present at the same place.
The complainant later left the drinking place and walked home alone and whilst on her way the three accused attacked and assaulted her. Her boyfriend who heard her screams then tried to come to her rescue and take her home, but Ebson and Katuuo turned on him and assaulted him.
They managed to chase him away which left the complainant at the mercy of the accused persons, the indictment reads.
It is further alleged that the three accused then continued to assault the complainant until she was too weak to offer any resistance and Gemeng proceeded to have unlawful intercourse with her.
When he finished, Ebson and Katuuo also took turns to rape the complainant, according to the indictment.
The indictment further states that after the three accused finished with their dastardly deed, they pulled the complainant into some bushes and left her there.
Yesterday the state called Dawid Hijamutiti, who testified that during the evening of the alleged incident, he and the complainant, her boyfriend, now deceased, and his girlfriend, also now deceased, were at the bar consuming some homebrew.
After a while the three accused entered the house and shortly thereafter the complainant left to go home.
Thereafter, the witness said, they heard screams and the owner of Marina’s Place instructed the boyfriend to go and investigate.
The next morning, Hijamutiti said, the boyfriend reported that the complainant never came home the previous night and they formed a search party which eventually found her in some bushes near a riverbed.
“She looked bad, her face was swollen and her eyes were swollen shut,” Hijamutiti told the court and continued: “We thought at first she was dead, but after calling her name a few times she responded.”
He added that when they questioned her about who attacked her, she mentioned the names of the three accused.
The trial continues today and all three accused are on bail.
2019-10-04 08:05:51 11 days ago