Cellphone text messages allegedly exchanged between former National Council member Steve Biko Booys and a young woman he is claimed to have raped in January show he tried to persuade her not to press on with the charges that led to his arrest.
The text messages were quoted by magistrate Khaepriums Swartz in a ruling in which he yesterday dismissed an application by Booys to be granted bail.
Booys (42), a former Okahandja constituency regional councillor and National Council member, has been in police custody since his arrest on 2 February.
He is charged with having raped a 20-year-old woman at his house at Okahandja on 16 and also 17 January this year.
Swartz concluded in his ruling, delivered in the Okahandja Magistrate's Court, that Booys did not show his release on bail would be in the interest of the administration of justice and that it would not jeopardise the criminal justice system. He also indicated that Booys failed to convince the court he would not interfere with witnesses if released on bail.
Ultimately finding that it would not be in the public interest or the interest of the administration of justice to have Booys released on bail, Swartz dismissed his application to be granted bail.
He recorded in his ruling that the state is alleging that Booys gave alcohol to the complainant in the matter and sexually assaulted her while she was intoxicated. The state is also alleging that this took place twice, on two consecutive days, at Booys' home.
Swartz noted that according to Booys, he was at his house, where the complainant was also present, on the two days when the incidents are alleged to have happened.
During his bail hearing, Booys said he was denying the allegations being made against him. He also denied that he had any contact with the woman after the alleged incidents.
A police officer investigating the matter told the court several cellphone texts messages were exchanged between Booys and the complainant after the alleged incidents, though.
In one message from the woman to Booys, she remarked: "I feel like trash, you were supposed to protect me."
Booys allegedly stated in a message claimed to have been sent to the complainant: "We were both drunk and maybe we made a mistake, but don't let it destroy us."
In another message, he allegedly repeated the same sentiment, saying: "You are going to destroy my life and career with this."
Booys is also alleged to have apologised to the woman in another message quoted by Swartz: "I am deeply sorry for what happened. No amount of pain and remorse can match what I am currently going through."
In a further message, he is claimed to have asked the complainant not to pursue charges against him. "Please don't continue with this case. I will make things right and we will move on," it is stated in that message.
The witnesses in the case include Booys' mother and sister, the complainant and her mother, and a domestic worker of Booys, the court was informed. On this, the magistrate remarked that in his opinion no bail condition would effectively police communication between Booys and the witnesses known to him and curb the fear that he might try to interfere with the witnesses.
Swartz also indicated that according to the evidence before the court at this stage the state has a case which on the face of it could lead to Booys being convicted. With rape undoubtedly a serious offence, the possibility of a lengthy prison term would be on the cards if Booys is found guilty, he added.
The case has been postponed to 14 July, for further investigations to be carried out in the meantime.
Defence lawyer Vernon Lutibezi represented Booys. The state was represented by public prosecutor Bernadine Bertolini.