Windhoek – Three young men from Khorixas yesterday received sentences of six and five years each, respectively, on three convictions of rape of a complainant they were drinking with.
High Court Judge Alfred Siboleka sentenced Victum Gomeb, 24, to six years, Elvis Gau-Goab, 24, to six years and Harry Patrick Bowe, 22, to five years in prison for the May 13, 2010 rape.
All three denied having raped the complainant and instead claimed at the start of their trial that she gave consent for one of them to have sexual intercourse with her.
But Judge Siboleka found there is credence, as well as material corroboration of the complainant’s evidence that all three accused sexually assaulted her.
“This is very clear when regard is had to the detail she testified in about how she was sexually assaulted,” the judge said.
During her testimony, the complainant, who was 17 years old at the time of the multiple rape, testified in detail how first Gomeb with the assistance of Bowe and then Bowe with the assistance of Gomeb, followed by Gau-Goab, took turns to violate her. She denied giving anyone consent to have sexual intercourse with her.
Judge Siboleka said rape is a very serious offence and that is why the legislature found it appropriate to promulgate the Combating of Rape Act of 2000, which gives effect to minimum sentences.
He said the Act sought to protect women by way of punishing convictees properly. On the interests of society, the judge said, its voice is, and remains continuously loud against the violence perpatrated on defenseless women.
“The courts are expected by law to reflect the protection of women in the sentences that are imposed on those who are convicted,” Judge Siboleka said. But, he said: “I’m however mindful of the fact that two of the accused were 17 years old and the third was 16 years old at the time of the commission of these offences.”
Subsection (1) of the Act provides for a minimum sentence of 16 years on a first conviction of rape.
According to the judge, Section 3(3) of the Combating of Rape Act is applicable to all of three convicts and stipulates that the minimum sentences… shall not be applicable in respect of a convicted person, who was under the age of 18 years at the time of the commission of the rape and the Court may in such circumstances impose an appropriate sentence.
In the end Judge Siboleka sentenced Gomeb and Gau-Goab to 10 years’ imprisonment each, four years of which were suspended for five years on condition that they are not convicted of rape during the period of suspension.
He also sentenced them to four years each on the other two rape convictions, but ordered that those sentences run concurrently with the six years on the first count.
Bowe was sentenced to nine years on the first rape conviction, with four years suspended for five years on condition that he is not convicted of rape during the suspension and three years each on the other two rape convictions.
It was ordered that the sentences on the second and third rape convictions run concurrently with the sentence on the first rape conviction.
Advocate Jackson Kuutondokwa appeared on behalf of the State and Monty Karuaihe for Gomeb, Milton Engelbrecht for Gau-Goab and Johan van Vuuren for Bowe all on the ticket of Legal Aid.