29 January 2013

Namibia: Unengu Referred for Mental Observation

A 32-YEAR-OLD man, Epafroditus Unengu, accused of double rape, was referred for mental observation yesterday.

Magistrate Ruth Herunga said she found herself in a dilemma during the preparation and writing of a bail ruling "to the extent that I started to do legal research on the issue of requesting a report mainly focusing on the state (of the) mental health of the accused".

According to the magistrate, "the court had the opportunity to observe the demeanour of the accused throughout the bail proceedings, his body language, movement of his eyes and how he responded to some of the questions posed to him by the court. The facial expressions of the accused gave the impression as if he did not fully comprehend what was happening around him."

Magistrate Herunga pointed out that Unengu, a qualified civil engineer and married with children, is before court for a second alleged rape and applying for bail for the second time in less than a year.

She postponed the case until Thursday, February 28, for Unengu's psychiatric evaluation.

Public Prosecutor Eric Naikaku represented the State, while Jan Wessels acted on behalf of Unengu.

Barely one year after the Windhoek resident allegedly raped and tried to kill a woman in Rundu, he was arrested in Windhoek - for allegedly raping another woman.

Unengu was arrested in the capital on November 10.

He made a first appearance on a charge of rape on Monday, November 12 last year, before Magistrate Helvi Shilemba in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court.

It is alleged that he committed the rape four days before his arrest - on November 6.

During his first court appearance, Naikaku opposed bail on behalf of the State.

The alleged rape was committed while Unengu was out on bail for another alleged rape, which he is accused of having committed in 2011.

According to the Rundu charge sheet, the alleged rape took place on July 9 2011.

During the same day, he allegedly also tried to kill the woman "by strangling her and pouring sand in her mouth", it is stated in the charge sheet.

On the same day, he allegedly also assaulted her with the intent to do grievous bodily harm. Unengu allegedly punched the woman on her eyes and bit her finger. She allegedly sustained wounds and bruises due to the attack.

For the Rundu case, the Prosecutor General decided that Unengu should be prosecuted in the Regional Court in Rundu on one charge of rape, one of attempted murder and one of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Unengu pleaded not guilty to the three charges on February 3 last year.

He was released on bail of N$10 000.

In November last year, Unengu lodged a formal bail application in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court before Magistrate Herunga in connection with the latest alleged incident.

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