Namibia: Hango Appeals Rape Conviction

Lawyers for northern businessman Sindano Hango have filed an appeal for his conviction for rape. Hango's case was on the court roll yesterday for sentencing in the Oshakati Regional Court, but the matter had to be postponed to 28 April 2021 pending the appeal in the Supreme Court.

Hango was in February convicted of rape in the Oshakati High Court and has been on bail of N$10 000 pending his sentence. He is due to be sentenced for raping his cousin and offering her a bribe for her silence in October 2014. In the documents filed with the Oshakati High Court, Hango argues that the court erred when it found that consent is no longer a defence for the crimes committed under the combating of Rape Act 8 of 2000.

"It will be submitted that consent remains a defence against a charge of rape in our law. This is despite that alteration of the definition of rape by the Combating of Rape Act 8 of 2000," he argued. Hango further intends to argue that the complainant was a single witness, despite the High Court ruling that the complainant was not a single source on the basis that the text messages sent to the complainant on 11 and 13 October 2014 corroborate the evidence that she was raped under coercive circumstances.

He said the High Court also found that the complainant's evidence was not perfect in every respect and argues that the court failed to identify and account for the imperfections in the complainant's evidence. He argued further that the court went to great lengths to identify specific weaknesses of the accused's evidence, but says the same approach was not used when the complainant's evidence was being analysed.

Equally, Hango challenged the mode of arrest. He claimed the complainant had sent text messages soliciting money in order to enable his arrest. Instead, he said, the court failed to make adverse findings on the fact that this mode enabling the arrest of an accused person by soliciting money from him with the help of a police officer amounts to an abuse of the Rape Act and the rights of an accused.

"There was no evidence tendered that creates an impression that the police were finding it difficult to arrest the accused person and therefore creating a need to arrest him by soliciting money," the documents read. Hango in the filed papers said the court also erred when it found that the state has proven its case beyond reasonable doubt.

"It made no pronouncement on the demeanour or the veracity of the accused testimony. There is no reason why the appellant's version was implicitly rejected," he said. Hango also intends to challenge why the accused's version was not put to the accused in cross examination.

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