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BDF soldier's rape trial continues

FRANCISTOWN: The case of a Botswana Defence Force (BDF) soldier accused of raping his stepdaughter continued before Magistrate Dumisani Basupi on Tuesday.

The serviceman, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the complainant, allegedly raped his stepdaughter in December 2013 at the Area S military barracks and in March 2014 at Mogoditshane.

The then 35-year-old lance corporal’s case became public knowledge after the then 11-year-old complainant revealed that her stepfather has been sexually abusing her to her guidance and counselling teacher in 2015.

When the matter came before Basupi for the defence to argue its case, Lieutenant Mogomotsi Mooketsi told the court that it was impossible for the accused to have raped the complainant on December 2013 because by then, the accused was on a trip at the border outside Francistown.

Mooketsi also stated that the accused, who is now on interdiction, did not rape the complainant for the second time in 2014 as alleged because he was deployed at the Khama Rhino Sanctuary for three months.

Mooketsi also told the court under cross-examination from State counsel Chimbisani Sechele that the State parade book will show that the accused was on duty for 24 hours at all material times. He explained that when soldiers are on duty for 24 hours, they are not even allowed to visit their residences hence it was impossible to implicate the accused with raping his stepdaughter at his place of residence as alleged by the prosecution.

However, Sechele put it to Mooketsi that it was possible for the accused to have broken the curfew imposed on him by his superiors by going to his place of abode where he raped the complainant because the supervisors were not with him for 24 hours.

Although Mooketsi initially said that it was impossible for the accused to have raped the complainant, he conceded that he was not with the

accused for 24 hours, hence cannot state with certainty that the accused broke the curfew or not.

Mooketsi also conceded that he could neither confirm nor deny that the accused was with the complainant in Mogoditshane in December 2013 because he (Mooketsi) was not in Mogoditshane.

“I am not certain about where the accused went to after December 23, 2013 when he was on leave,” said Mooketsi.

The defence’s second witness, Captain Kabelo Samson said he was with the accused from March 6 to May 6, 2014 at Khama Rhino Sanctuary when being led by defence attorney Kagiso Jani. Samson’s statement that he was with the accused at Khama Rhino Sanctuary for two months contradicted an earlier statement by Mooketsi that the accused was at the sanctuary for three months.

“I confirm that the accused was always with us at Khama Rhino Sanctuary from March 6 to May 6, 2014. Mooketsi could have confused the dates because he was not with us at Khama Rhino Sanctuary,” said Samson.

Samson added that there was no possibility that the accused allegedly committed any offence between March 6 and May 6 in 2014 because he was on a trip at Khama Rhino Sanctuary.

Before the trial which is continuing adjourned for lunch, Sechele put it to Samson that it was surprising for the accused to say that he forgot to state that he was on trips during all the material times that the prosecution allege that he raped his stepdaughter when giving his evidence in chief.

Sechele also stated that the failure by the defence to reveal such crucial evidence during the initial stages of trial only to reveal it at the closing stages was an afterthought meant to mislead the court.




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