Magistrate fed up
Kanye Principal magistrate Janet Phosa has expressed displeasure at the way a Gaborone based prominent attorney Duma Boko is constantly unavailable to represent his client; a Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) pastor for continuation of a trial in which the latter is charged with the rape of a girl, 8.
The 49, year-old who holds position of a pastor in SDA church in Kanye is alleged to have on December 6, 2008 at Rungwana ward in Moshupa village, had unlawful carnal knowledge of the minor without her consent. The matter was part heard in 2010, and since then it has been postponed at the instance of the attorney when the little girl was expected to take a stand against her alleged perpetrator.
The magistrate who appeared very annoyed after receiving information that one of Boko’s colleagues who was to proceed on his behalf had faxed a sick leave note after telling the court that he would avail himself at 11am when he finished at the High court, issued a court order against Boko. She stated that Boko must appear in person on 30th April to set trial dates, adding that should he not avail himself again, the trial would proceed as scheduled. She gave the accused person a record of court proceedings to familiarize himself with the case, and further advised him to see to it that his attorney avail himself: failure of which the court would be left with no option but to proceed with trial.
According to the court, the trial started on 28 October 2010, and since then it has been postponed due to Boko’s unavailability. It was postponed to April 2011, then to December 2011, then to March 2012 and eventually April 2013 where he again failed to avail himself. The magistrate averred that while she was aware of the accused rights to legal representation, but, the courts should not be seen to entertain abuse of such rights.
She said the conduct of the defence was very traumatic for the little girl, adding that, “it will have effect on the manner she will eventually testify.” During the last appearance on trial, a witness who is also a cousin to the little girl and who is also alleged to have been a victim of the same pastor had told the court that she had kept the sexual harassment a secret in order to save the pastor’s job: the pastor is their aunt’s husband.
The witness, 18, told the court that the incident took place at the accused person’s house, when they had visited him during the school holidays.She said she suspected the accused person, could have sexually abused the little girl one afternoon when he called her (little girl) in his bedroom for about an hour during their aunt’s absence. According to her testimony, the accused had asked the little girl who was at the time playing with others outside the house to bring him a glass of water to drink inside his bedroom. The little girl took so long in the bedroom but when she returned after an hour’s time she was crying and indicated that she wanted to phone her mum in Ghanzi, according to the witness. “I told her I did not have airtime,” said the witness adding that the complainant also refused to join the other children to play.
She said when she bathed the complainant in the evening she observed some blood stains on her panty. “When I saw the blood stains I thought the accused could have abused her,” she said. The witness further stated that later when her aunt arrived there was noise in their bedroom where upon her aunt later came out with a blanket and gave it to the maid to wash.
One day when their aunt was on a night duty, the accused person then turned on the witness. She alleged he started touching her breasts and later took out a condom and raped her in the sitting room on a sofa, according to the witness. But the witness kept all these a secret because she was afraid that her aunt’s husband might end up loosing his job, because her aunt and her husband were very aggressive people and was afraid that she might be blamed for marriage wrecking and also because when they went to Moshupa from Ghanzi the complainant’s mother had asked her to take very good care of her saying when people see her (complainant) they might think that she is grown up.
When the witness and the complainant went back to Ghanzi after the schools resumed, the witness still could not report the crime to the complainant’s mother up until one day when the child drew a picture that raised her mum’s eyebrows. It is alleged that the child had asked her mum to give her a pen and a paper to write something where upon she drew a man and a woman and joined them with a linking line and labeled it sex. The complainant’s mother is said to have taken the child to a social worker.
During cross examination by the defence counsel Duma Boko, he asked the witness why she suspected that the accused person could have abused the complainant and her response was because of the blood stains that she observed on the child’s panty.The social worker, complainant’s mother and the investigating officer are also expected to give evidence.