The defence lawyer of accused serial rapist Gavin Gawanab has strongly opposed an application by the prosecution to have photos of his client’s body taken.
Lawyer Mbanga Siyomunji yesterday said Gawanab has been in custody since his arrest in 2018 and was accessible for photos then, adding his client is not at liberty to assist the state to prove their case against him.
“If there was an oversight on the state’s side, that is to their detriment. Why should the court bend backwards for the state to complete their investigations in the middle of a trial when they had ample time to do so?” questioned Siyomunji.
He further said the state’s failure to do an identification parade cannot be entertained by the court while the trial has already commenced.
The prosecution wants body images of the 27-year-old man, currently on trial for 23 offences, including the rape and mutilation of a 10-year-old girl in 2018.
State prosecutor Innocentia Nyoni yesterday applied for an order in the High Court that would compel Gawanab to allow the state to take pictures of his body features.
Motivating her application, Nyoni said the issue of Gawanab’s body features only came up during the minor victims’ testimonies during the ongoing trial.
The minor victims testified and indicated that the man who attacked and sexually violated them had distinctive tattoos on his arms and legs. According to the prosecution, the victims recall that the perpetrator has a star tattoo right above his left ankle.
“We could not have made prior arrangements to get the images as these details are not contained in the victims’ statements. They only came up during their testimonies,” explained Nyoni.
Judge Dinah Usiku then postponed the case to 21 April for judgement.
Gawanab denied guilt on 23 charges – including three counts of rape, three counts of attempted rape, four charges of attempted murder and several counts of assault and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
He is accused of attempted murder after strangling the minor girl with intent to murder her, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and a further count of rape of the same victim.
All of this is said to have happened on 26 October 2018 near farm Satansloch in the Windhoek area.
After allegedly violating the little girl, he went into hiding in the mountains surrounding Windhoek, causing a massive manhunt for him.
He was on bail for a number of offences at the time of the attack on the minor girl.
It is further alleged that he assaulted another girl near the same farm on 29 September 2018. He allegedly grabbed her by her waist and dragged her, causing injuries.
He also allegedly assaulted another young girl by stabbing her with an arrow and hitting her with his fist on 29 April 2017 in the Havana area of Windhoek before he proceeded to rape her and robbed her of money.
On the same day, the indictment read, Gawanab assaulted another young woman in the same day and the same area by stabbing her with an arrow.
He is further facing another count of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm after stabbing another young woman on 2 September 2016 in Havana.
On the same day, he also allegedly threatened to stab another girl at the same location.
It is further claimed that on the same day in the same location, Gawanab forced another woman into a room and made her remove all her clothes under duress and attempted to rape her. He did not succeed.
Gawanab is facing further counts of attempted murder, housebreaking with intent to rape and rape read with the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act for raping another under-aged girl in the same location on 26 September 2015.
He also faces charges of assault by threat and crimen injuria for an incident that happened on 14 May 2013 at farm Oas in the Windhoek district, where he swore at two complainants and threatened to stab them with a knife.
It is further alleged that on 22 December 2012 near Daan Viljoen in the Windhoek district, Gawanab attempted to rape another minor girl and tried to murder her by strangulation.