WINDHOEK - State Advocate Palmer Khumalo has asked Windhoek High Court Judge Dinnah Usiku to impose three consecutive prison terms of 15 years each on Swakopmund resident Brendan van Wyk, for convictions of rape.
Van Wyk was acquitted on a fourth rape count and a count of attempting to obstruct or defeat the course of justice.
He was acquitted on the first count of rape of a woman he told the court he paid N$70 after having consensual sexual intercourse with her. The woman, who may not be named for ethical reasons, however decried this assertion by Van Wyk, vehemently denying she would have sex for money.
Judge Usiku however gave Van Wyk the benefit of the doubt as she said the court was not satisfied the truth has been told. According to the judge, the complainant in the first count remained behind in the vehicle with the accused even after she earlier indicated that she wanted to go home. According to the accused’s version, the judge said, he and the complainant had already kissed when they were at the ocean and that should have rang alarm bells when he followed into the room if she wasn’t inclined to follow through. Why would she open her door for him? The judge asked.
Khumalo read out a long list of previous convictions against Van Wyk including theft, possession of stolen goods, assault, assault on a police officer, malicious damage to property and robbery. The convict acknowledged the previous convictions. His state funded lawyer, Mpokiseng Dube told the court that substantial and compelling circumstances exist which would allow the court to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence of 15 years. According to him, Van Wyk is still relatively young and is a good prospect for rehabilitation. Before his arrest, Van Wyk worked as a cabinet maker or joiner and supported his ailing mother as well as his 13-year old daughter, Dube said and implored the court allow the convict a chance to become a useful member of society again. He also asked the court to take into account that Van Wyk has spent the last three years in custody. He asked the court to order certain parts of the sentences to be imposed to run concurrently and also to suspend a portion thereof.
“What compelling and substantial circumstances?” Khumalo asked. He said the time spend in custody is a result of the offences Van Wyk committed. His mother is being cared for by his sister and his daughter by her mother. He told the court that Van Wyk put his victims through terrifying terrible anguish in two separate acts. According to Khumalo, the court can go beyond the prescribed sentences of 15 years, as the sentences of the Rape Act has not been challenged. According to Khumalo, the courts have a duty to ensure women out there that they are free to live their lives without fear. “They should be free to walk around without being waylaid by predators such as the convict,” he told the court. Khumalo further told the court that what makes the moral blameworthiness of Van Wyk even higher is the fact that he has shown no remorse. “If you are man enough to rape, you should be man enough to apologise,” Khumalo stressed.
Van Wyk remains in custody at the Windhoek Correctional Facility’s section for trial awaiting inmates and will return to court on April 24 for sentencing.