The 24-year-old man convicted in the Windhoek High Court by Judge Boas Usiku in October on five counts of rape, one count of attempted murder and one count of assault was yesterday sentenced to an effective 28 years behind bars.
Sitting in the accused bench at D Court, unfazed, Rudolf Goagoseb heard the judge call his behaviour barbaric and calculated. According to Judge Usiku, the offences were committed out of lust, with no regard to the well-being and basic human rights of the victims.
Goagoseb was convicted of violating three schoolgirls, aged 12, 12 and 14 respectively, on their way home from school on September, 29, 2010 in Okahandja. According to evidence led during the trial he came across the girls in a footpath and wielded a broken bottle-neck at them.
He directed them to proceed walking along another path going deeper into the bush and threatened that he would harm anyone who ran away. Having led them into the bush, he then instructed them to undress while he too removed his clothes, the judge recounted. After undressing himself he instructed the girls to suck his privates and then proceeded to rape one of the girls repeatedly.
According to Judge Usiku, the manner in which the crimes were committed show that it was premeditated. “The accused having armed himself with a broken bottle-neck, embarked on an assignment to waylay and sexually assault vulnerable schoolgirls on their way from school.”
He interrupted them in their journey, detained them in conversation and directed them to the scene where he subjected them to sexual and physical assaults, said the judge.
The judge stated that children should feel safe on their way from and to school where they are sent to receive education for the betterment of the country. Undoubtedly, the judge noted, the accused violated their sense of security. He continued: “In pursuit of their constitutional obligation to stay in school till they have completed their primary school or have attained the age of 16 years, children have the legitimate right to protection from abuse and all forms of violent treatment, and the duty to afford such treatment falls on all right-thinking people, law enforcement agencies and the courts, being the upper custodian of all children.”
He further said the accused has not offered any apology to the victims. According to the judge the expression of remorse is an indication that an accused will not re-offend and is a factor to be taken into account when determining sentence.
He said the lack of remorse and the circumstances surrounding the commission of the offences are significantly aggravating, justifying a severe punishment.
Judge Usiku said that rape, in general, is a serious offence and the rape of young children demands a special degree of censure. Indeed, the judge said, the seriousness of the crime of rape is reflected by the severity of the minimum sentences prescribed by the legislature. He said it is common knowledge that often the residual emotional, mental and psychological effects of sexual violence permeate the daily lives of the victims, in many cases subjecting them to a lifetime of torment.
“Unlike other physical violence, rape is connected to sex, an act allied to intimacy, relationships, pleasure and procreation,” the judge remarked, adding that the propensity for long-term damage occasioned by rape is therefore unique.
Judge Usiku said that while the youthfulness of the accused and the fact that he is a first offender weighed heavily in his favour, a lengthy custodial sentence is unavoidable.
However, the judge said, the accumulative effect of the sentences will be excessive and therefore some will be suspended and others ordered to run concurrently.
In the end the judge sentenced Goagoseb to 15 years each on the first three rape convictions, 16 years on the fourth rape count, five years on the attempted murder count, 20 years of which four years are suspended for five years on condition that Goagoseb is not convicted of rape or attempted rape within the suspended period, on the fifth rape count, and six months imprisonment on the assault conviction.
The judge ordered that 12 years each on the 15-year sentences, 13 years on the 16-year sentence, the five-year and the six-month sentences to run concurrently with the 20-year sentence.
State Advocate Palmer Khumalo prosecuted and Titus Ipumbu appeared on behalf of Goagoseb on instructions from the Department of Legal Aid.
Goagoseb is also currently trial-awaiting on a murder case in Karibib.