Namibia: Psychiatrist to Deny Rape Charges

A SWAKOPMUND psychiatrist accused of having drugged and raped one of his patients will be denying guilt on all of the charges in the Windhoek High Court.

Dr Pieter van der Westhuizen will be pleading not guilty on all five of the charges he is facing and places in dispute all elements of the charges, one of his defence lawyers, Gerhardt van der Merwe, has stated in a pretrial document filed at the Windhoek High Court.

Van der Westhuizen (61), who had a third pretrial hearing before judge Christie Liebenberg on Thursday, is charged with three counts of rape, a count of indecent assault, and a charge of attempted murder, alternatively using a drug to stupefy or overpower a woman to have unlawful intercourse with her.

All of the charges are based on allegations that he sexually assaulted one of his female patients at Swakopmund on 7 November 2015.

A year passed following the alleged incident before Van der Westhuizen was charged in November 2016. The state is alleging that Van der Westhuizen arranged with one of his female patients to visit his consulting rooms for a procedure to be carried out on 7 November 2015. Van der Westhuizen allegedly also prescribed medication to the patient, and instructed her to take that on the morning before her consultation with him.

The patient allegedly had a panic attack after taking the prescribed tablets and was rushed to his consulting rooms, where she was given more medication, and was left with Van der Westhuizen.

The state is alleging that Van der Westhuizen gave the patient an overdose of the tranquilisers Valium and Ativan and the central nervous system stimulant Ritalin, and indecently assaulted and raped her while she was alone with him at his practice.

In the pretrial document filed by Van der Merwe, he states Van der Westhuizen is admitting that he prescribed 16 Ritalin tablets to the patient, and instructed her to take those orally on the morning before she visited his consulting rooms. However, Van der Westhuizen denies that he supplied the patient with Valium tablets as well, it is also stated in the document.

During the pretrial hearing on Thursday, Cape Town-based defence counsel Graham van der Spuy told judge Liebenberg the defence could still be asking the state to provide it with further particulars on the charges, after patient records originating from his practice were disclosed to the defence only a few days earlier. Van der Westhuizen, who was granted bail of N$10 000 during his first court appearance at Swakopmund in November 2016, has to return to court on 23 August. His bail was extended until then.

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