FRANCISTOWN: A 36-year-old man who allegedly raped his biological sister and aunt was denied bail pending trial when he appeared in court on Wednesday. The man, who cannot be named for ethical reasons, is facing three counts of rape.
He allegedly raped his aunt on May 17, 2017 and again on May 20, 2017 before he turned on his sister at Thapadiatla ranch near Sehunong village in the Central District.
Justice Matlhogonolo Phuthego said that the accused had approached the court seeking an order that he be admitted to bail pending trial.
Phuthego added that the application was vehemently opposed by the State on grounds that the accused was, and is facing serious offences of rape and has already demonstrated that he has a propensity to commit crimes and is a flight risk.
Phuthego said the applicant has filed a supporting affidavit to bolster his application.
“In the affidavit, the applicant avers that he is a citizen of Botswana and is incarcerated as a remand prisoner at Serowe prison on three counts of rape.
The applicant further avers that trials in the matters are scheduled for June 5, 2019. The accused states that upon being released by the police after he was first arrested, he was not given any order as to when and where he should report or not to move from his place of stay,” Phuthego said.
Phuthego added: “The accused further states that should he be granted bail, he would stay in his home village of Sehunong whereas the complainants are currently staying in Mabuo village. He, however, does not state the distance between the two villages”.
Though the applicant had averred that trial has been set for June 5, Phuthego noted, he says that he is launching the application as the trial date is still far.
Phuthego said in opposition to the accused’s application, the State has filed an affidavit by the investigating officer (IO), Kehakgametse Gosenyang, of Serowe police station.
According to the affidavit, the accused was arrested on May 20 in 2017 for an allegation of raping his aunt.
“The deponent says the applicant was released on the same day but the IO does not say why the accused was released on the very same day of his arrest.
The IO’s affidavit further reveals that following the accused’s release by the police, they received two more reports of rape accusations levelled against the accused on the same day. One of the victims was again his aunt and the other was his biological sister.
According to the IO, subsequent to the lodging of the last two reports, the accused vanished into thin air,” Phuthego said.
Phuthego continued: “It is not in dispute that both victims in the alleged crime are close relatives of the accused. Allegations are that the accused person has sexually violated them in quick succession and then went into hiding. The police hunted him for seven months, so he is a flight risk”.
Phuthego added that the other reason that does not favour the accused is that after he was released from police custody, he allegedly raped his aunt and sister.
“The seriousness of these offences can also not be overlooked. The offence of rape attracts a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 year’s imprisonment when there are no exceptional extenuating circumstances and is one the worst forms of violation of one’s right to privacy,” Phuthego said.
Phuthego further stated that admitting the applicant to bail would place his victims and other women at the risk of his continued sexual violations as he has already demonstrated a propensity to do so.
The judge said taking all these factors into consideration, there are strong inferences that there exists a real risk that the accused would not honour the bail conditions and attend the court for his trial or he will commit more crimes.
“The aforesaid considerations compel me to take the view that, notwithstanding the presumption of innocence until proven guilty that exists in favour of the accused, the interests of the criminal justice require that he be detained in jail pending his trial. His application for bail pending trial is therefore refused,” Phuthego said. Kgomotso Tshekiso appeared for the State while the accused was not legally represented.