A 36-year-old man who was acquitted of kidnapping and raping his former girlfriend will only serve two years imprisonment for assaulting her. On Friday, High Court Judge Dinnah Usiku sentenced Herman de Klerk to three years imprisonment of which one year is suspended for five years on the condition that he is not convicted of common assault and/or assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
In October, Usiku acquitted De Klerk of kidnapping and rape charges but convicted him on a lesser charge of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. Usiku found that there was not enough corroborating evidence to sustain the charges except for the count of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and acquitted him accordingly.
She said that the complainant was a single witness whose evidence had to be treated with caution. Furthermore, the judge said, she was not convinced that the complainant told the truth when she testified.
De Klerk was prosecuted on a charge of kidnapping, three counts of rape, a count of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and a charge of assault by threat.
The prosecution alleged that on 1 June 2018, De Klerk forced the complainant to accompany him to the Henties Bay stadium at knifepoint, where he sodomised and raped her. It is further alleged that during the rape incidents, he threatened the complainant that he will “gorge” her eyes out and kill her if she does not comply with his wishes.
Furthermore, it is alleged that he hit her on the mouth with a clenched fist, causing an injury to her upper lip.
After the incidents at the stadium, it is alleged, De Klerk then forced the complainant to the house where he resided and again sexually violated her. He pleaded not guilty to all charges and denied having had intercourse with the complainant at all.
The complainant and De Klerk were discovered the next morning by her boyfriend while sleeping on a mattress fully clothed, it emerged during the trial. Dr Manane Lushinge, who conducted an examination on the then 30-year-old complainant, at Swakopmund, testified that he could neither confirm nor rule out that she was raped.
He said no viable DNA could be found on the swabs taken from the victim. While the doctor indicated that penetration took place, he could not detect any injuries or bruises that would indicate forceful penetration.
Palmer Khumalo was prosecuting for the State while Joseph Andreas represented De Klerk.