A former hostel caretaker at Karundu Primary School in Otjiwarongo, who is charged with sodomy, refused to take part in his trial after retired High Court Judge Alfred Siboleka ordered the trial continues when he refused the services of a lawyer.
When the trial was supposed to resume on Monday, Hipura Ujaha was there to represent Merven Nguyapeua (50), but the latter refused, as he said Ujaha is not the lawyer he wants.
Judge Siboleka then excused Ujaha and ordered that the trial should continue with or without the accused being represented.
Nguyapeua is facing 32 counts of rape or 27 alternative counts of having sexual intercourse with a child below the age of 16 years.
According to the State, he forced at least 10 boys between the ages of 13 and 15 years to sodomise him after he stimulated their private parts.
The first incident allegedly occurred in 2013 and sodomy continued until February 2016 when he was arrested.
According to the charge sheet, he sexually assaulted the first boy, who was 14 years old, on six occasions during 2013 and 2014; thereafter, a 13-year-old boy once; another 14-year-old once, and then a 15-year-old on three different occasions.
It is further alleged that he then raped a 14-year-old boy in January of 2015 on two occasions and again during the second term.
He is further accused of raping another 14-year-old during the second term of January 2015 on two occasions, as well as another boy, aged 14, on three occasions during 2015.
During September of 2015, he allegedly sexually assaulted another 14-year-old on three occasions before he committed another six sexual assaults on a 13-year-old boy before he was arrested on 1 March 2016 and also raped the same boy in May 2015, the charge sheet states.
He is denying all the charges.
Yesterday, a social worker who conducted individual interviews with five of the boys and group sessions with all of them told the court that in her opinion, the boys were telling the truth.
According to her, the scenario in which Nguyapeua operated was typical of a sexual predator.
She described how victims are being groomed by undivided attention, the giving of rewards – and ultimately, the threats of withdrawal of the rewards, attention and threats to the victim or family members to entice them to the sexual acts.
She said this normally happens in group settings such as a school or hostel.
According to Aisha Wentworth, she believed the boys told the truth about what happened to them.
Nguyapeua, who stood with his hands over his ears when court proceedings were interpreted to him, did not cross-examine the witness nor did he give any reply when asked questions by the court.
Instead, he handed a letter, written in Otjiherero, to the court, in which he asked for the procedure to be stayed until he could acquire the services of a lawyer – but because he did not apply formally, the matter was closed.
The matter will now return to court on 20 April for submissions on the verdict.
Seredine Jacobs is prosecuting and Nguyapeua remains in custody.