Namibia: Child-Rape Accused Found Fit for Trial

A man accused of raping a five-year-old girl after abducting her from a preschool in Windhoek two years ago is fit to stand trial, two psychiatrists have concluded.

Jeremia van Wyk (51) is able to understand court proceedings and did not suffer from a mental disorder when the crimes he is accused of were allegedly committed, psychiatrists Lahija Hamunjela and Reinhardt Sieberhagen state in reports compiled after Van Wyk went through a period of psychiatric observation in August and September this year.

Van Wyk was informed of the findings in the reports when he made his latest pretrial appearance in the Windhoek High Court yesterday.

Van Wyk is charged with counts of rape, alternatively committing a sexual act with a girl under the age of 16, and abduction, alternatively kidnapping.

The state is alleging that he took a five-year-old girl from a daycare centre in Windhoek without her parents' consent on 1 August 2019 and that he raped her later on the same day. The girl was found with Van Wyk at a shebeen in the city's Katutura area during the evening of the day she had been taken from the daycare centre.

The psychiatrists both noted in their reports that Van Wyk told them he had been drinking alcohol and using drugs on the day of the alleged crimes.

Hamunjela recorded that Van Wyk claimed the girl he is accused of raping asked him to carry out a sexual act with her.

Van Wyk displayed no remorse about the incident when he narrated the events of the day in question, and he was instead blaming the girl, claiming it was her fault that he is now being held in custody, Hamunjela stated.

She concluded that Van Wyk has an anti-social personality disorder.

Sieberhagen noted in his report that, according to Van Wyk, he experienced "visions and thoughts about sex" after he had been drinking alcohol and taking drugs on the day of the incident. Van Wyk reported that he first tried to rape the girl and then tried to penetrate her genitals with his finger.

"He reports realising that what he is doing is wrong and decided to go to the shebeen, taking the child with him," Sieberhagen stated. He added that, according to Van Wyk, he and the girl arrived at the shebeen around midday and he spent most of the day drinking, until he was arrested around 20h00.

Sieberhagen also noted that Van Wyk did not express particularly notable emotions of guilt or remorse.

Van Wyk's use of alcohol and drugs at the time of the alleged crime did not affect him to the extent that he did not know what he was doing or did not have control over his actions, Sieberhagen stated.

Van Wyk has to return to court for a next pretrial hearing on 21 October.

State advocate Filistas Shikerete-Vendura is representing the prosecution.

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