Namibia: Covid-19 Scare Halts Noa's Bail Hearing

The formal bail application hearing of rape accused Dennis Noa was postponed yesterday by the Katutura Magistrate's Court.

The 26-year-old Noa, whose hearing was scheduled to continue yesterday with the State's case, was informed that his defence lawyer James Diedericks has been placed in isolation while he waits for his Covid-19 laboratory results.

Thus, magistrate Esme Molefe postponed the case to 16 June for continuation of the hearing, remanding Noa in police custody.

Noa has been in police custody since his arrest on 12 April on a charge of rape. The State is alleging that Noa, who is a medical intern, sexually violated an 18-year-old male patient, on 11 April at Katutura Intermediate Hospital.

Noa has been an intern at the hospital for eight months.

The victim was admitted to the hospital at the time after he was involved in a car accident from which he obtained head injuries.

At the start of his bail hearing, Noa denied any wrongdoing. In his defence, he indicated that he was not guilty of the allegations as stated by the State as he has taken an oath not to harm any of his patients. He indicated the allegations against him are defamatory and malicious.

On Wednesday, the investigating officer dealing with his case, detective Esther Kawiwa testified that despite laboratory results testing negative for semen, Noa is not yet in the clear.

She testified that the absence of semen does not necessarily mean that rape did not occur. It was her testimony that the Rape Act defines that rape does not only occur by means of insertion of a penis but other objects as well.

Investigations have thus far established that the victim was penetrated, as there was blood and discharge found on the anal area. Kawiwa said there was also anal fissure and soreness - signs of penetration.

Kawiwa said according to the information at hand, on Sunday 11 April, two witnesses saw Noa wheeling the victim from the head injury ward to the conference room and locking the door behind them.

A witness allegedly questioned Noa where he was taking the patient, to which he answered that he was taking him for physiotherapy, which is situated on the ground floor of the building.

However, investigations revealed the physiotherapy unit is not operational during weekends. Thus, there was no need for Noa to take the victim for therapy. Kawiwa further testified there was no referral letter indicating the patient needed to be taken for therapy, which is a standard procedure at the hospital.

Noa allegedly returned the victim to his ward. An unopened condom and tissue were found on the victim's bed.

Upon inspection of the victim, blood and discharge was found on the anal area. According to Kawiwa, the victim had no injuries on him prior to being in the company of Noa.

She said Noa's case is of a serious nature as it took place at a hospital, which is regarded as a place of safety by the public.

Kawiwa testified Noa is not a good candidate for bail as he has already tried to intimidate one of the State witnesses who is his former colleague.

The State, represented by Bernadine Bertolini, indicated that they are not in favour of Noa being released on bail pending the finalisation of his case. Bertolini said investigations in the matter are not finalised and it would not be in the best interest of justice or the administration of justice to grant bail to Noa.

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