Child-molester found guilty but escapes rape conviction
A Swakopmund man accused of child trafficking and rape has been found guilty of harbouring five minor girls for sexual exploitation.
The court ruled that Bertus Koch solicited these children to the commission of indecent and immoral acts for his sexual gratification.
Their names can not be published for ethical reasons.
Koch is a resident of DRC informal settlement who collects garbage from dump-sites for food or reselling.
He, however, escaped being convicted of rape as the court found that the complainants’ accounts contradicted each other.
It is the state’s case that Koch was in the habit of luring the young girls with food to his house after that he would force them to drink alcohol before forcing them into immoral acts.
Their ages ranged from 12 to 11 with the youngest being nine.
It is alleged that he would threaten them with death and proceed to attempt to penetrate them, at times, at knife-point forcefully.
He also exposed them to hard-core pornographic pictures stuck in his house.
At some point, he would give the girls apples, powder milk, and little monies ranging from N$3 or hairspray which at one time had urine and had to be given to one of his victims’ mother.
The court heard that he would apply baby oil on his organ, or force the girls to stimulate him, at some point wearing a condom or a small plastic used for wrapping bread.
The court also heard that on other occasions, he would attempt to put his sperm inside the girls’ genitalia.
However, Judge President Damaseb pointed out that no physical evidence solidly tied him to have committed the act of rape.
The state’s case could not convince the judge that Koch would make the five girls sit down in his house and forcefully rape each of them, and asked why they did not run away.
He also did not get convinced by the account of one of the relatives of the victims who testified that she saw one of the girls nocking for her colleagues who were locked in Koch’s house, yet she did not make any attempt to inspect the situation.
Koch countered in his trial that this particular woman had fabricated the rape charges against him since he at one point had refused her advances.
On top of that, the judge further laid it out that the complainants’ accounts contracted each other, in that one of them would deny being in the company of the other during a certain incident while the other submitted that they were all in one place.
One of the victims’ persistent reference to the use of a knife by the accused was denied by all the complainants except one yet according to another version, the knife was brandished when all five were present.
Said the judge, “The question, therefore, arises whether it is safe for me to convict him of rape on the evidence of the complainants alone. An allegation of rape is very easy to make and quite difficult to disprove.”
“The complainants’ versions are most confusing even to the seasoned and hardened judicial mind. Their versions are internally inconsistent and, in material respects, inconsistent as between the complainants - even when supposedly referring to the same incident.”
Koch was found guilty on eight main counts, five alternative counts and innocent on two main counts.
He will be sentenced on the 27th of September this year.