Judgement was delivered on Monday in one of the longest running rape and robbery trials ever in Namibia with the conviction of the accused on all charges.
“It is therefore my considered view that the circumstantial evidence placed before court by the prosecution has succeeded in proving the charges against the accused,” Judge Alfred Siboleka said when he pronounced Charles Namiseb and his co-accused Edwin Tourob guilty as charged.
He convicted them on three counts of rape each, one count of robbery with aggravating circumstances and two counts of attempted murder.
According to the judge in cases where there are no eyewitnesses and the victims do not know or are unable to identify their assailants, credible circumstantial evidence may safely result in a conviction.
He said it was common cause that an elderly couple of Uis had just cashed a cheque at a nearby shop, preparing for a trip to Henties Bay, when two unknown male persons intruded their residence and attacked and tied them up.
He further said two firearms, ammunition and other goods were stolen. The attackers fled in the victim’s car and when they defied a police roadblock accused number two was shot in the buttocks. He was tracked down and arrested while accused number one was later arrested in Swakopmund.
In this instance, the judge said, the requirements for a conviction on circumstantial evidence had been satisfied.
Both accused denied guilt at the start of their trial in July 2013 in which they were accused of assault and robbery of the elderly couple at the sleepy town of Uis in the Erongo Region on October 3, 2010 and also of rape of the 69-year-old woman.
The victims may not be identified to protect the identity of the rape victim.
According to Judge Siboleka while there is doubt about the evidence of one of the police officers, the chain of evidence credibly establishes beyond reasonable doubt an uninterrupted link pointing only to the accused as the persons who attacked the elderly couple.
Even though the judge already ruled as inadmissible certain admissions Namiseb allegedly made to police officers after his arrest, DNA evidence linked him to the crime and his failure to testify in his own defence did not work in his favour as the judge found prima facie evidence existed to place him at the crime scene.
In the case of Tourob who testified in his own defence, the judge said his testimony is “untruthful and false beyond reasonable doubt”.
According to him he was just at the wrong place at the wrong time as he was an innocent passenger in the car that tried to evade the roadblock and was shot at by the police.
The judge said the evidence adduced by the State proved he was the passenger in the get-away vehicle and he was involved in the commission of the crime.
State Advocate Innocencia Nyoni represented the State and defence counsels Bronell Uirab and Christian Nambahu appeared for Namiseb and Tourob respectively, upon instructions of legal aid.
The accused will return to court on March 16 for submissions on the sentence to be imposed.