The defence counsel of Russian Alexander Krylof and Namibian Anna Katrina Engelbrecht (31) on Wednesday asked Windhoek High Court Judge Claudia Claasen to acquit them on all charges.
Ileni Velikoshi submitted that the State failed miserably to prove any of the charges or alternative charges against his clients, and they should be given the benefit of the doubt and discharged.
Krylof and Engelbrecht pleaded not guilty to 23 counts of rape and 16 counts of human trafficking, originating from sexual activities involving five under-aged girls in Walvis Bay between January and October 2017.
Krylof claimed he was unaware that the girls were under the age of 16 as they deceived him into believing they were 17, turning 18.
Velikoshi said because of the nature of the sexual activities in which the girls were willing participants, “rape in terms of the Rape Act” could not be proven, and as such the State “constructed” the rape allegations with great care.
“They were carefully crafted in the sense that the nature of the sexual activities between the teenagers and Krylof would not constitute rape in terms of the Rape Act, but would amount to offences under the Immoral Practices Act,” he said.
He added that the State employed “vulnerability” as a coercive circumstance, claiming the teenagers were extremely vulnerable due to their age at the time.
“This is the degree to which the State has gone to generate rape allegations against accused one (Krylof) by introducing ‘exceptionally vulnerable circumstances’ that the statute expressly meant to exclude,” Velikoshi argued.
With regards to the trafficking charges, he said no credible evidence was placed before the court to even remotely prove the allegations. He said the alleged victims all testified that they went to Krylof’s residence out of their own free will, and were free to leave whenever they wished.
Palmer Khumalo, on behalf of the State, argued that the charges against the accused persons were proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
According to him, Engelbrecht knew that she took the children to Krylof for sexual exploitation, which proves child trafficking.
Furthermore, the fact that Krylof asked his first victims to bring him more under-aged girls is tantamount to trafficking. Khumalo continued that both accused harboured the minors, and did so for the purposes of satisfying their sexual needs.
In fact, he argued, Krylof exploited the vulnerability of the children, who did not know any better. The law, he said, is there to protect children from their ignorance.
Engelbrecht, who reportedly was in a relationship with Krylof, allegedly recruited the five victims, aged between 15 and 16, for Krylof and took them to him for alleged sexual intercourse.
Both Krylof and Engelbrecht are free on warnings.
The judge indicated that she will deliver her verdict on 13 February next year.