31 January 2013

Namibia: State May Appeal Incest Rape Sentence

THE State may appeal to the Supreme Court against the 14-year prison term to which a man who was convicted of raping his daughter was sentenced in the High Court in Windhoek last year.

The prosecution received leave to appeal to the Supreme Court in a judgement handed down by Judge Nate Ndauendapo.

Judge Ndauendapo sentenced the convicted man, then 47 years old, to 14 years' imprisonment on a charge of rape and to a concurrent jail term of one year on a count of assault in June last year.

The man, who cannot be named in order to protect the identity of his daughter, was found guilty on the two charges at the end of February last year.

He was accused of having assaulted his 14-year-old daughter by slapping her, and of then raping the girl in their house at Koës in the Karas Region on September 9 2004.

In terms of the Combating of Rape Act the man faced the prospect of being sentenced to a prescribed prison term of not less than 15 years.

Judge Ndauendapo, while slamming the man for "despicable and humiliating conduct" towards his daughter, said he considered the fact that the man had spent close to a year in custody before his trial was concluded as substantial and compelling circumstances that justified a departure from the mandatory sentence.

The prosecution was not satisfied with that reasoning, and applied to be given leave to appeal to the Supreme Court against the sentence.

In his judgement on the application, Judge Ndauendapo said he agreed with State advocate Innocentia Nyoni's argument that rape is a very serious and prevalent offence in Namibia.

He added: "The accused is the biological father of the complainant, he was trusted by the complainant and I found that his personal circumstances were far outweighed by the seriousness of the crime and the interests of society."

He concluded that in his view the Supreme Court may have a different view than his on the sentence imposed. In the result, the State was given leave to appeal.

Defence lawyer Boris Isaacks represented the accused.

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