Three young men resident in Khorixas convicted by High Court Judge Alfred Siboleka of the rape of a 17-year-old girl were last Friday told they will be sentenced on November 10.
The judge said this after hearing submissions from their respective lawyers.
Two of the young men, who were teenagers when they committed the act, testified in mitigation of the sentence. None of them expressed remorse over the incident though, with Elvis Gau-Goab still claiming he had consensual intercourse with the complainant.
Gau-Goab and his two co-accused, Victum Gomeb and Harry Patrick Bowe, were each convicted on three counts of rape of the complainant, whom they had been drinking with earlier that day.
They denied raping her and instead claimed at the start of their trial that she gave consent for one of them to have sexual intercourse with her.
Gomeb and Gau-Goab testified on Friday in mitigation of sentence and both asked the court to show leniency to them.
Gomeb testified that he is the father of two minor children, whom he is responsible for, while Gau-Goab said he is the father of three children: twins and a nine-month old son. Both asked the court to give them suspended sentences, instead of direct jail terms.
Bowe did not testify in mitigation and his legal aid lawyer, Johan van Vuuren, submitted from the bar that while his client did not express his contrition about what happened to the complainant in person, he indeed regretted what was done to her.
Monty Karuaihe, who appeared on behalf of Gomeb, also said his client regrets what happened to the complainant and asked the court to show leniency. He said Gomeb has children that need their father and asked the court for a partially suspended sentence, as did Milton Engelbrecht on behalf of Gau-Goab.
According to him, substantial and compelling circumstances exist in the matter that will allow the judge to deviate from the minimum sentence, but Deputy Prosecutor General Jackson Kuutondokwa differed from Engelbrecht on this score.
Kuutondokwa held that – if anything – the substantial and compelling circumstances are aggravating in nature and not mitigating.
He said the intimidating presence of the other two accused, while one was busy violating the complainant, is in itself aggravating.
Kuutondokwa asked the court to impose the maximum sentence allowed by the Combating of Rape Act.
During the trial it was revealed that Gomeb, Gau-Goab and Bowe were with the complainant and Eises, the elder sister of Gomeb, at a bar called Hot Spot in Khorixas, where they were consuming alcohol. At one stage the complainant went outside to pass water and the three convicts followed her and dragged her to a nearby half-built church building, where they took turns to rape her.
Judge Siboleka found that the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt and thus convicted the three men on three counts of rape each.
The three men were out on bail during the trial, but their bail has been cancelled and they were remanded in custody.