21 May 2019

Namibia: Teacher Fights Bail Conditions Violation

THE Keetmanshoop Magistrate's Court last week postponed the state's application to cancel a high school teacher's bail after she violated conditions.

Suiderlig High School teacher Valery Bock (45) faces five counts of abduction and two counts of committing an immoral act.

Bock allegedly violated her bail conditions when she contacted a 15-year-old Grade 9 girl whom she is accused of abducting.

The accused was on bail with conditions that she does not contact the girl, a pupil at the P K de Villiers High School at Keetmanshoop.

She allegedly lured the girl by offering her and other schoolgirls food, clothes, cellphones and shoes for inappropriate sexual contacts with her.

The girl's mother first reported the alleged inappropriate relationship between her daughter and the teacher to the police in April last year.

State witness constable Fredrika Jacobs during the hearing on Monday said the victim's mother on 21 April reported her daughter as missing since 19 April, suspecting that she was at the teacher's home.

Jacobs testified that Bock had refused entry into her home to her and other law enforcement officers when they arrived on 21 April to search for the victim at the teacher's house. She said the accused had locked the front door of the house when the police knocked on the door requesting her to open it. The accused, said Jacobs, told the police "she doesn't want the victim's mother at her home" after she saw her through the window.

She said police entered the home after four hours' wait when Bock slipped out of the house through the back door and was spotted by a member of the police team.

The witness told the court that she found the victim hiding in a wardrobe after she and another entered the house to search for her.

"When I was escorting the victim out of the home tears were rolling from her cheek," she added.

During cross-examination, Bock said the girl was lying, but the witness insisted she was telling the truth.

The accused also put it to the witness that she had opened the door, but had closed it in the face of a certain police officer she identified as Shikongo after he explained that the victim's mother suspected that her daughter was in Bock's house.

"I said, I am tired of that aunty's accusations when I had closed the door in his face," she told the court.

When asked by Bock why she thought the victim was at her home since 19 April, the witness after a long pause responded: "You and the victim had something".

When asked to explain what she means by something, he said: "I heard you are in a relationship."

The victim's mother in her testimony yesterday corroborated Jacobs' evidence that Bock had refused entry to the police when they arrived on 19 April to search for her daughter.

It took the police about four hours to gain entry into the house, she told the court.

The girl's mother, whose name cannot be disclosed to protect the identity of the victim, said her daughter, after being rescued by the police on 21 April, told her that she had been at Bock's house since 19 April until police had rescued her on 21 April.

According to her, her daughter after having been taken away from Bock's home by police had sent a text message to her cellphone stating: "I only regret now that I didn't listen to mother because I love her (teacher). I told her I didn't want to be in such a relationship when (teacher) she said she was going to hit me".

During cross-examination, Bock suggested to the victim's mother that she had fabricated the text message and had set a trap for the teacher as she had come with police to search for her daughter three minutes after she came to her house without her knowledge or consent.

"You and your elder daughter are concocting things against me," Bock remarked.

When Bock asked why it took her days to report her daughter as missing to the police, the girl's mother responded: "When she went from home, she came back, but if she goes to Bock's home, she stays away". The mother said her daughter also told her that "she wanted to commit suicide because she was threatened and that she was afraid for her life".

However, she could not name a person her daughter claims threatened her.

Bock is defending herself.

This is the second time Bock is accused of breaking bail conditions. She was charged in December last year for violating her bail conditions when she allegedly had made direct contact with the victim. The hearing was postponed to Thursday this week.

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