Engineer to appeal rape conviction

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WINDHOEK – An engineer convicted and jailed for 12 years for rape by the Windhoek High Court wants to appeal the conviction in the Supreme Court.

His lawyer, Sisa Namandje, on Tuesday lodged an application for leave to appeal the conviction of Epafraditus Ndokotora Unengu by Judge Christi Liebenberg earlier this year.

Unengu was sentenced to 12 years for the rape of a 21-year-old woman in the Nepara area of Nkurenkuru in Kavango West on July 9, 2011. At the time, Unengu worked for the Roads Authority as a senior engineer.

He was also sentenced to six months imprisonment for a conviction of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm in connection with the same incident.

At first Unengu was charged with attempted murder, but the judge found that while he did assault the complainant, it was with the intent to subdue her and not kill her. The State had charged that after the rape he physically assaulted the victim with fists and the judge found this plausible.

He was, however, discharged on another case of rape and attempted murder in an incident that took place in Windhoek on November 6, 2012.

At the time of the verdict Judge Liebenberg ruled, “despite some imperfections in the complainant’s evidence, she has told the truth and that she has been raped by the accused”.

It is because of these “imperfections” that Unengu wants to appeal to the Supreme Court.
In the notice of appeal, he stated that the judge did not properly consider the cumulative effect of the inconsistencies and contradictions by the complainant.

These inconsistencies are, inter alia, the contradiction between her evidence-in-chief, cross-examination and her witness statement about what she said and did not say when Unengu took the Katwitwi road out of Nkurenkuru instead of the road to Nepara. Another contradiction Unengu noted was regarding whether or not she approached him concerning it being late for her to be taken home while in the bar at Mpungu or while they were on their way to the vehicle after a long stay at Mpungu.

He further questioned the contradiction to when and where exactly she demanded part of her money at Mpungu and whether she, as a matter of fact, demanded her money.

According to the notice of appeal, the complainant contradicted herself relating to any conversation regarding her destination, whether such conversation started only outside the bar at Mpungu or earlier when Unengu drove with her along the Katwitwi road.

She also contradicted herself whether or not she was certain that Japhet was dropped off after a stay at Mpungu and regarding the change of drivers before Mpungu, Unengu claim as well as whether or not she found him asleep when she came into the room at Olavi’s place.

He claims the complainant contradicted herself on whether or not she initially attempted to walk home only to be followed by Unengu with the vehicle at a later stage.
The appeal has been set down for May 27 for hearing.
State Advocate Dominic Lisulo appeared on behalf of the State during the trial.

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