20 October 2018

Namibia: Bail Decision Postponed for Accused Human Traffickers

TWO people accused of trafficking a 14-year-old girl who was allegedly drugged and raped in northern Namibia will have to wait longer to hear whether magistrate Mika Namweya will grant them bail.

Namweya was supposed to deliver his decision on their bail application on Friday morning, but informed them in the Oshakati Magistrate's Court that he would only do so on 31 October.

"I noticed that there are numerous issues that were raised over the two weeks. I need to satisfy myself by paying attention to each witness account. Only then I can decide," he said.

Namweya said although he had almost completed scrutiny of the submissions of the state and defence, he would be travelling next week and he asked the accused to bear with the court.

The two accused, Frederick Jacobus van Zyl (32) and Sylvia Bonifatius (20), face charges of rape, human trafficking, drugging a female for unlawful carnal intercourse, use of means to stupefy a female for unlawful intercourse, and kidnapping.

Bonifatius and Van Zyl, who are in a relationship, are accused of kidnapping the girl, holding her captive and raping her at a house at Ondangwa. They have both pleaded not guilty to the charges.

State prosecutor Chrisna Masule has opposed the granting of bail on five grounds, including the fear that the accused may abscond and that they might interfere with investigations.

The defence has not presented any witnesses and has solely relied on the testimonies of the two accused. Bonifatius is represented by Simson Aingura, and Pieter Greyling is representing Van Zyl.

The state has called three witnesses to the stand, including human rights activist Phil Ya Nangoloh, who testified that the two accused should not be granted bail.

The state's second witness, constable Abraham Eliaser, the investigating officer, also informed the court that he still needed to get statements from witnesses and said the accused would interfere in the investigation.

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