WINDHOEK – Windhoek High Court Judge Naomi Shivute yesterday granted the State an order compelling three men from Otjurukune Reserve in the district of Gobabis, who are charged with rape, to give another DNA sample after the initial genetic samples taken did not yield sufficient DNA.
State Advocate Felisitas Sikerete-Vendura made the application before the trial could start on Tuesday, when the accused were supposed to plead to nine counts of rape, one count of assault to cause grievous bodily harm and one count of common assault.
Jan Gemeng, Tjaava Ebson and Godlieb Rapanka Katuuo stand accused of the gang rape of a young woman at Otjurukune Reserve on June 17, 2014 .
According to the charge sheet, the complainant who may not be named was at a bar (Marina’s Place) at the reserve with her boyfriend and two other friends drinking alcohol, and the accused were present at the same place.
The complainant later left the drinking place to walk home alone and whilst on her way the three accused attacked and assaulted her.
Her boyfriend who heard her screams then tried to come to her rescue and take her home, but Ebson and Katuuo turned on him and assaulted him. They managed to chase him away, as he was in fear of losing his life, which left the complainant at the mercy of the accused persons, the indictment reads. It is further alleged the three accused continued to assault the complainant until she was too weak to offer any resistance and Gemeng then proceeded to have unlawful intercourse with her.
When he finished, Ebson and Katuuo took their turns to rape the complainant, according to the indictment. The indictment further states that after the three accused finished with their dastardly deeds, they dragged the complainant into some bushes and left her there.
Yesterday the State-funded lawyers for the three accused tried in vain to dissuade Judge Shivute from compelling the accused to be submitted to another DNA sampling.
Mese Tjituri, Mbanga Siyomunji and Hipura Ujaha were all in agreement that an order compelling the accused to give another DNA sample would be tantamount to them establishing a case against themselves. They said that it will not be in the interest of justice for the accused to incriminate themselves and assist the State in making their case.
Tjituri said the State is on a fishing expedition, hoping to catch the big one, while Siyomunji was of the opinion the State should have had their house in order before they charged the accused.
“Their investigation is in shambles, meaning they have no case and are now hoping the accused will help them,” he said and continued: “This is not in the interest of justice.”
According to Ujaha, the accused already gave their full cooperation to the police, including giving DNA samples, after their arrest and to now compel them to do so again is just not fair.
He said if the initial collection of samples was not done properly it means the entire investigation was not done properly.
Judge Shivute shot down the arguments of the defence in one decisive sweep, saying the arguments of the defence do not hold water. According to her, once the swabs are taken it could just as easily exonerate the accused as incriminate them.
The defence counsels indicated to the court they will apply for leave to appeal the ruling when the trial resumes on Monday.
All three accused are on bail, which was extended.