State advocate Palmer Khumalo implored Windhoek High Court judge Claudia Claasen to refuse an application for discharge in the case of Russian national Alexander Krylof (58) and his Namibian counterpart Anna Katrina Engelbrecht (29).
Krylof, who admitted that he had intercourse with at least five under-aged girls during 2017, but denied that he raped any of them, wants the court to dismiss the charges against them.
The duo is facing 42 counts of rape and child trafficking, in addition to a charge of supplying minors with cigarettes. According to Khumalo, the State proved a prima facie case against the applicants, and they should answer to the charges.
“We respectfully submit that we have made out a case upon which the accused persons can be convicted on the evidence led against them by a court acting reasonably,” he stated.
Khumalo further said while the accused tendered plea explanations in which they expressed their innocence, these are just allegations not submitted under oath, and it is only them who can explain fully why they say they did not traffic the children and did not sexually abuse them.
This, he said, is not to put the onus on the accused, but simply to say that should they choose to do so, they can, because they have not led any evidence to substantiate their bare and bold assertions of denial.
On the other hand, defence lawyer Marinus Scholtz argued that the evidence presented against his clients does not reach the threshold of prima facie. According to him, the testimonies of the complainants are sketchy at best, and while some of it like the sexual encounters can be true, the rest of the testimony is suspect, to say the least.
He argued that there is a danger that some of the charges are duplicated, and it seems that the State did a “copy and paste” as the charges read exactly the same. He also had a problem with the State’s reliance on the United Nations Protocol on Child Trafficking, saying not all elements of the protocol are present in the case before court.
There must be a commercial motive in order to establish child trafficking, in other words, the child must be trafficked for exploitation for financial gain, he continued.
Khumalo countered this by saying there was indeed financial gain, as it is not disputed that Krylof paid the children for sex.
Scholtz, however, said neither Krylof nor Engelbrecht received any monetary reward for the acts committed with the children. He further argued that the age of consent in respect of the Rape Act is 14, and that all the girls were between 14 and 15 years old at the time. In respect of the tobacco charges, he said his client was not aware that the children were under 18 when he gave them cigarettes, and that in any event, they were smokers who asked him for cigarettes.
He then asked the court to dismiss all the charges against his clients, or otherwise to declare that some of the counts relating to the rape and child trafficking charges overlap, and thus constitute a duplication.
Judge Claasen indicated she will deliver her ruling on 18 October.
Both Krylof and Engelbrecht are free on a warning.
Caption: Alexander Krylof
Pic: Roland Routh