WINDHOEK: A young Windhoek resident was on Tuesday sent to jail for three years on a charge of rape committed in June 2008.
Laizer Kuhlewind, 23, was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment of which four years were suspended for a period of five years on condition that he is not convicted of any charges related to rape during the period of suspension.
Kuhlewind was thus sentenced to an effective three years’ imprisonment by High Court Judge-President Petrus Damaseb today.
Kuhlewind, who had spent 18 months in police custody at the Windhoek Central Prison’s holding cells awaiting the finalisation of the case, was tried and punished in terms of the provisions of Combating of Rape Act of 2000.
“The incidents of sexual violence committed against women and girls are now on the increase in the country. These are very serious offences because the victims suffer from psychological trauma for the rest of their lives. In this case, the offence was committed against an innocent and defenceless seven-year-old girl,” said Judge-President Damaseb before imposing the punishment.
The conviction and sentence of Kuhlewind followed a finding by Damaseb that Kuhlewind was not so intoxicated from crack and marijuana (dagga) that he did not know what he was doing when he put one of his fingers into the private parts of a seven-year-old girl, causing some bleeding.
The incident took place at a house in the Hakahana area of Katutura on 18 June 2008, the court heard during trial.
Earlier reports carried by The Namibian newspaper had it that in terms of the Combating of Rape Act, Act Eight of 2000, the deed which the girl claimed Kuhlewind had done is included in the definition of a sexual act, and is regarded as the offence of rape when it is committed intentionally and under coercive circumstances.
During his trial, Kuhlewind told the court that he could not recall if the event which the girl had testified about had actually taken place or not.
He claimed he was “out of his senses” after he had spent the day smoking marijuana and crack cocaine with friends, and that was the first day he had used the drugs.
However, Judge-President Damaseb rejected Kuhlewind’s version as an afterthought designed to escape liability for the sexual assault on the girl.
Kuhlewind is said to have had a very unhappy upbringing as he grew up in the care of foster parents after his biological parents had abandoned him at an early age.
He attended school up to Grade 10 before dropping out of school and started making a living by doing odd jobs around the capital.
He showed strong remorse for what he did to the girl and pleaded for mercy from the court.
He was a first offender with no previous record of criminal offences against him.
Windhoek-based defence lawyer Boris Isaacks represented Kuhlewind, acting on the instruction of the Justice Ministry’s Directorate of Legal Aid.
State Advocate Erick Moyo appeared for the prosecution.