Namibia: State Wants Imprisonment for Man Acquitted On Rape

State advocate Palmer Khumalo on Friday asked Windhoek High Court Judge Dinnah Usiku to sentence a man she acquitted on charges of kidnapping and rape, but convicted on a lesser charge of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm to a term of imprisonment.

Herman de Klerk (36) has already spent more than four years in custody pending his trial.

De Klerk was prosecuted on a charge of kidnapping, three counts of rape, a count of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and a charge of assault by threat.

Except for the count of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, Judge Usiku acquitted him on all charges.

Khumalo, however, said that although the accused spent all this time in pre-trial detention, he was not punished for the crime he was convicted of and must be punished accordingly. Although he did suggest a further term of imprisonment, he did not specify the period.

The State alleged that De Klerk kidnapped his former girlfriend at Henties Bay during the evening of 1 June 2018 by threatening her with a knife and forcing her to accompany him away from the house of a neighbour, where he had found her.

The judge, however, found that there was not enough corroborated evidence to sustain the charges except for the assault GBH charge and acquitted him accordingly. She said that the complainant was a single witness whose evidence had to be treated with caution. Furthermore, the judge said, she was not convinced that the complainant told the truth when she testified.

Joseph Andreas, who acted on behalf of De Klerk on instructions of Legal Aid, asked the court to impose a wholly suspended sentence on De Klerk. He argued that the time he already spent in custody is punishment enough for the crime he was convicted of. Andreas pleaded with the court to free his client and allow him to be reunited with his family. De Klerk has been in custody since his arrest a few days after the incident. Judge Usiku indicated that she will deliver the sentence on 25 November at 10h00. De Klerk, in the meantime, remains in custody.

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