Namibia: Swakop Man Gets 30 Years in Jail On Rape Charges

A SWAKOPMUND man convicted of having raped a teenage girl and a pregnant woman four days apart in April 2016 was sent to prison for an effective 30 years yesterday.

During his sentencing in the High Court at the Windhoek Correctional Facility, Brendan van Wyk (31) had to hear judge Dinnah Usiku describing him as a danger to society, and as someone whose string of previous convictions show that he was not capable of being rehabilitated, before she announced to him that he was sentenced to a 15-year prison term on each of three counts of rape.

One of the sentences was ordered to run concurrently with one of the others, involving the same complainant, with the result that Van Wyk was sentenced to an effective term of 30 years' imprisonment.

The crimes of which Van Wyk was convicted "are shocking and chilling to say the least", judge Usiku remarked during the sentencing.

She also told Van Wyk that he had shown no remorse at all for the crimes he committed, and that society needed protection from him.

Van Wyk denied guilt during his trial on four charges of rape, and one count of attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.

Judge Usiku acquitted him on one of the rape charges and the count of attempting to defeat of obstruct the course of justice - both charges stemmed from an incident that took place at Swakopmund on 5 May 2016 - when she delivered her judgement in the trial in March this year, but found him guilty on three other counts of rape.

Van Wyk was convicted of having raped a 14-year-old girl at Swakopmund on 1 April 2016, and of having raped a pregnant woman at the coastal town on 5 April 2016.

The girl told the court she was walking on her way to school early in the morning when a man accosted her, forced her over the wall of a cemetery, and then raped her in the cemetery while threatening her with a knife.

The girl reported the incident to her parents at home shortly afterwards.

The second incident took place four days later, when a woman who was walking to the Natis office at Swakopmund early in the morning was approached by a man who struck up a conversation and then turned on her, grabbing her and demanding oral sex from her, the court heard during Van Wyk's trial.

The woman testified that Van Wyk forced his genital organ into her mouth, and then also raped her.

The woman was 22 weeks pregnant at the time.

Both complainants identified Van Wyk during a police identification parade after his arrest.

During the trial, Van Wyk claimed he had consensual intercourse with both of them, but judge Usiku rejected his version, noting that both complainants sustained injuries, and that both immediately raised alarm about having been raped.

Van Wyk was self-employed as a carpenter before his arrest, the court was informed. The judge was also told that he has a record of 13 previous criminal convictions starting in 2003 and involving charges ranging from theft and possession of stolen property to assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, housebreaking, and robbery. Van Wyk spent nearly three years in custody before his trial was concluded. Legal aid lawyer Mpokiseng Dube represented him during the trial.

State advocate Palmer Kumalo prosecuted.

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