Zorena Jantze & Eba Kandovazu
THE 36-year-old man accused of reveling in the heinous act of raping his under aged step-daughter for a period of nearly five years in the dark confines of their family home appeared before the Windhoek’s Magistrate Court.
The suspect, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victim, is reportedly employed at a bank and was arrested on 23 August during working hours. He faces a charge of rape for the sexual abuse that began when his step-daughter was only 11-years-old. She is now aged 15.
Arguing on final submissions on behalf of the suspect at the conclusion of his formal bail application, defence lawyer Jan Wessels stated that due to the sensitive nature of the issue, Mureko has agreed to be remanded in custody for another two to three weeks, arguing that this will allow for the collection of witness statements without interference.
Wessels further stated that the suspect has agreed to move out of the common home he shared with his partner and young victim.
“The accused person is a gentleman, he is a part of the public. Sexual related crimes are on the increase, however, to come to court and to say that the accused should not be given bail is anticipatory punishment,” Wessels argued.
Wessels further questioned the credibility of the claims made against his client and noted that it is clear that the victim is the only witness to the alleged rape charges. He further pressed that it is merely circumstantial evidence that the alleged victim’s hymen was torn.
“It seems that the victim is not comfortable with the facts of this case, she is not an active and participatory witness,” the defence lawyer argued.
According to the state witnesses Dr. Veronika Theron, the teenager reported the first sexual assault incident to her aunt, as well as her mother.
Theron was, however, quoted in a local weekly stating that the mother of the victim accused her daughter of seducing the suspect and thereby turning a blind eye to claims of sexual assault made by the child.
Opposing the suspect’s bail, state prosecutor Rowan van Wyk argued that the applicant has means to contact the witness and as a teenager, is susceptible to undue influence.
With regard to defence arguments that his client is evasive towards investigations on the case, van Wyk contended that there is no way that a 15-year-old would be comfortable with the facts of the case. “For four years, the applicant has gotten away with this. He was not caught when the alleged first incident happened. The victim did not receive any assistance; however, she received counselling for the claims made against him. He knew the person closest to the victim would protect his interest. It is up to the court to protect this vulnerable witness,” van Wyk countered.
Magistrate Linus Samunzala postponed the matter to 11 September when he will hand down his judgment. The suspect will have to wait until then to hear if he will be granted bail.