Saturday, October 31, 2020

HIV infection case enters Botswana courts for the first time

A Gaborone woman, whose identity can not be revealed, told Gaborone Chief Magistrate, Lot Moroka, that she was surprised to find Gaborone lawyer, Michael Morwamang of the Attorney General’s Office, making love to her without using a condom in his house in the early morning of July 6, 2005.
The woman said this on Thursday in a first ever case of its kind in the country where a man has been charged with “unlawfully having unprotected sexual intercourse with someone, an act he knew or had reason to believe to be likely to spread the infection of HIV/AIDS.”

According to the woman, that day had started with her and a friend chatting. Then her friend was phoned by her boyfriend inviting her for drinks at a local hotel, so they went together.
She told the court that on reaching the hotel, they found that the boyfriend had moved to another local hotel and that they again followed him there. On arrival, she said that they found her friend’s boyfriend drunk and that within a short time he told them that he wanted to go home and sleep.

The two ladies then finally ended up in Chezamtemba Club in Mogoditshane where she said she, for the first time in her life, tasted alcohol after persuasion by her friend who asked her “to take one or two.”

Instead, she told the Court that she drunk so many bottles of Hunter’s Dry to an extent that she blacked out. Before the blackout, she told the Court she had vomited outside the club on several occasions.

After the blackout she told the Court she did not know what happened and when she came to, she found Morwamang on top of her.

Asked by the Directorate of Public Prosecution, Merapelo Mokgosi, how she felt after the incident, she said that she felt angry and traumatized. Further, she stated that she had immediately inquired from Morwamang what he had been doing to her and that Morwamang had gotten angry with her and slapped her.

A while later, the woman said that she had found some ARV tablets in Morwamang’s kitchen. When asked why she thought they were ARV tablets, she told the Court that she could identify them because her mother is on the treatment and that she had personally been administering them to her.

On why she thought they belonged to Morwamang, she said that his name was written on the box that contained them. When asked under cross examination by the defendant’s lawyer, Ookeditse Maphakwane, why she had, after the incident, not reported it to the police, she said that she did not do that immediately because she was too traumatized, not knowing what to do and whom to tell.

She denied that the whole plan was to hide from the fact that she had betrayed her friend Mmapula’s trust by having sexual intercourse with her friend’s newly found boyfriend, saying what had happened between her and Morwamang was not to her liking and she did not chose to do that.

The lady also denied that she caused all the trouble to hide the fact that Morwamang’s wallet had gone missing saying that Morwamang, who had initially claimed that he was missing his wallet, had finally found it and took money out of it to give to Mmapula to buy some cigarettes.

When told that Morwamang would tell the Court that she had actually kissed him, hugged him, and positioned herself in a sexual and compromising manner when Morwamang had intended to show her where she would sleep, the lady denied this saying that though she was drunk she did not remember doing anything of that kind.

When reminded that she had told the Court that she had blacked out and could not remember how she had come to Morwamang’s place, she said that though she agrees that she was drunk, if she had indeed kissed, hugged and positioned herself in a sexually compromising manner, as she is alleged to have done, she would have remembered that.

When asked about the disparities in her statement made to the police about how they were collected from Morwamang’s place after the incident and what she said had happened in Court, she said that the differences might have resulted from the fact that the police officer who was taking the statement from her was writing fast as she said her case needed urgent attention as she had said her suspect was on ARV treatment.

In the coming weeks, Mr. Morwamang will have to enter the dock and answer to prosecution’s examination and explain why he was having unprotected intercourse if he, as it is alleged, is HIV positive. The case continues.

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