3 December 2018

Namibia: Man Jailed for Raping Cousin

A 22-year-old man from Tses village in the //Karas region who was found guilty of raping his cousin, was last week sentenced to eight years imprisonment in the Keetmanshoop Regional Court.

The man, whose identity cannot be disclosed to protect the victim, had pleaded not guilty to a charge of rape at the start of his trial, saying his alleged victim was on her period.

It was found that the man, who was 19 years old at the time that he committed the offence, had raped his 13-year-old cousin when she visited him at his grandmother's house in 2015.

A witness called by the defence to testify in mitigation of sentence described the convict as a quiet, respectful and reasonable person.

"In my own opinion and having followed the court proceedings, he was honest in denying raping his cousin, based on the evidence given in court," she stated.

According to her, she knew the man since childhood because she kind of raised him after the deaths of his parents in 2011 and 2012.

The testimony of the witness, who is related to the convict and the victim, that she believed he had not raped his cousin, resulted in presiding regional magistrate Sunsley Zisengwe asking: "You think he was wrongly convicted?".

"If you were the presiding magistrate, you would have acquitted him?" he asked.

Handing down a sentence of 10 years' imprisonment, of which two years were conditionally suspended, Zisengwe told the state witness, who is a police officer, in a lighter note that she also needs rehabilitation, referring to her testimony supporting the man's version that he did not rape the young girl.

He said the convict should be ashamed of himself for having raped his cousin, a person he was supposed to protect.

"Being raped is horrible because the psychological effect is magnified and deep-seated," the magistrate stressed.

Legal Aid lawyer Stefan Coetzee represented the convict, while Basson Lilungwe prosecuted.


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