• May 22nd, 2019
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Supreme Court exonerates former judge

WINDHOEK – “Justice was served on earth and in heaven,” former Supreme Court Judge Pio Marapi Teek said on Monday after three acting judges of appeal dismissed an appeal the Prosecutor-General (PG) lodged against his acquittal on charges of kidnapping and sexual molestation.

The allegations of kidnapping and molestation involved two girls aged nine and 10. 
The trial which is coming from January 2005 finally came to an end after Acting Judge of Appeal Bess Nkabinde  confirmed his acquittal in concurrence with Acting Judges of Appeal Yvonne Mokgoro and Maruping Dibotelo in concurrence. Teek was ordered to be retried after Judge Ronnie Boiselo of South Africa first exonerated him in 2006 and the state successfully appealed the acquittal in the Supreme Court. Three South African Judges, Piet Streicher, Kenneth Mthiyane and Fritz Brand upheld the decision and ordered that Teek be put on his defence in the trial. He was again acquitted in December 2010 and still not satisfied with the outcome of the trial, the PG again sought leave to appeal the decision in the Supreme Court  which was granted by High Court Judge Thomas Masusku in 2017.  

Teek allegedly abducted and sexually molested the two girls. The incidents date back to the evening of January 28, 2005. It is alleged Teek picked up the two children in his vehicle in Katutura and took them to his residence in Brakwater, north of Windhoek. This he did without their parents’ permission. It was also alleged he gave the two minor girls alcoholic drinks at his house before molesting them. According to court records, he stayed with the minors and later returned them to their neighbourhood the following morning.

Judge Nkabinde held that the contention by the PG that the trial court misdirected itself on the facts and the law is devoid of any merit and that it was correct to conclude that because of the material discrepancies in the evidence of the state witnesses which remained uncorroborated - it could not be faulted in finding that the guilt of Teek had not been proved beyond reasonable doubt. Judge Nkabinde further found that the investigation was riddled with irregularities; some of which, she said, the trial court described as deliberate attempts by the police to incriminate the former judge. “The Supreme Court, having considered the issues, the law, the evidence, the approach of the High Court and its assessment of the evidence, held that the trial court followed the correct approach by cautioning itself not to approach the evidence on a fragmented fashion, but to approach it holistically, the appeal judges wrote and continued: It found that the trial court was correctly mindful of the dangers attendant upon the uncritical acceptance of the evidence of the complainants because of a number of elements, including their imaginativeness and suggestibility that require their evidence to be scrutinized with care.  The appeal judges further heard there is no evidence to suggest that Teek foresaw or ought reasonably to have foreseen the consequences of his action and that, even assuming that his explanation was wanting and that his actions bordered on negligence, his explanation cannot be rejected merely because it was improbable on those grounds.

 “It is sufficient that his version, considered against the evidence as a whole, is reasonably possibly true in substance in which case his version should be accepted,” Judge Nkabinde stressed. Teek vowed to continue with his lawsuit against the state over his prosecution in the High Court. In light of it all, Teek is said to have been one of the most decorated in his field, having been appointed at the age of 45 as the first black Namibian judge of the country’s High Court in 1992 and later as Judge President of the High Court in 1999. 

Roland Routh
2018-12-05 09:05:49 5 months ago

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