Charges against rape suspect withdrawn

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Maria Amakali

Windhoek-A man who was accused of having raped a 31-year-old woman was allowed to walk free following a shoddy job by the investigating police officer.

Lazarus Matias, 38, was arrested in 2014 following a complaint from a woman that he allegedly forced himself on her. Matias’ case had been on the roll since his arrest and the matter was postponed several times to enable the investigative officer to finalise his investigation into the matter, but to no avail.

At one point, State Prosecutor Susan Nyatondo complained about the way the investigative officer was doing his job. “The prosecutor general’s decision is not ready, since the investigative officer has been sitting on the docket and failed to send the docket to the prosecutor general,” Nyatondo explained.

Matias has throughout denied guilt in relation to the charge of rape. During his plea, he opted to not furnish the court with any explanation as to why he was pleading not guilty to the charge.

Before the matter was struck from the roll the investigative officer was asked to explain why the investigation into the matter had not yet been finalised since the matter had been on the court roll for three years.

Investigating officer Jefta Shikihima, after a gruesome grilling from defence attorney Mbanga Siyomunji, informed the court that he had been trying to locate the witnesses, but to no avail. Shikihama made a request that the court grant him a further extension of two months to finalise his investigation.

Siyomunji strongly opposed to the extension though, stating that the investigating officer would not manage to finalise the investigation during the time that he is requesting, given that he had failed to do so over the past several years and thus the case should be struck from the roll.

Before doing so, Magistrate Surita Savage said the non-compliance with court rules by officers would reduce the high professional standards that the courts are entitled to in administering justice.

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