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Defence lawyer accuses state of ambush

2021-05-17  Roland Routh

Defence lawyer accuses state of ambush
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Defence lawyer Mbanga Siyomunji has accused deputy prosecutor general Innocencia Nyoni of ambush after she introduced untested evidence during the bail application of alleged serial rapist Gavin Gawanab. 

This came through the testimony of the investigating officer, a certain Inspector Simao. According to Simao, Gawanab dodged the police on several occasions, contrary to his claim that he immediately handed himself over to the police the moment he heard they were looking for him. 

Simao further testified that Gawanab was found hiding under a bed at his late mother’s house after the police were informed of his whereabouts. Siyomunji did not take kindly to this evidence, saying his client was not cross-examined on this, and thus not given a chance to either dispute or confirm this information. 

He objected strongly, but Windhoek High Court Judge Herman January allowed the evidence, and said Siyomunji can address the issue in argument. The lawyer argued that this evidence cannot be relied upon by the court as it is untested. 

Siyomunji further told the court that none of the allegations against his client have been proven in a court of law, and as such, he is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. 

According to Siyomunji, his client is denying all the allegations against him. He further argued that none of the complainants produced any bail statements opposing bail for Gawanab.

“There is no proof before court that the applicant is a danger to society,” Siyomunji argued, adding that there is nothing to show that he is not a suitable candidate for bail. He further  stated that none of the grounds on which the state opposes bail had been substantiated, and that no prima facie case was established. The state is opposing the bail application. 

According to Nyoni, there is a genuine fear that Gawanab will re-offend if he is released on bail as there is a precedence. She said all his offences happened shortly after he was released on bail on one alleged crime, and also not far apart. 

The state also fears that he might abscond if granted bail, and that he may interfere with state witnesses who have not testified yet as he knows them all. Nyoni is expected to present her arguments on 18 May. Gawanab is facing 23 counts, including rapes of minors, attempted murder, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, assault, attempted rape, alternatively indecent assault, kidnapping, housebreaking with intent to rape and rape, as well as crimen injuria. He pleaded not guilty to all charges at the start of his trial, and put the onus on the State to prove each and every allegation against him. 

His crime spree of allegedly sexually assaulting under-aged girls started in December 2012 until he was arrested in November 2018 after he allegedly raped a 10-year-old girl and cut open her genitals. He was out on bail on the previous charges when he allegedly committed this act in 2018.

2021-05-17  Roland Routh

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