Sunday, April 5, 2020

Judgment in Masitara’s alleged rape case expected on May 31

All eyes will be on Extension Two Principal Magistrate, Barnabas Nyamazabo, who, on Thursday May 31, is expected to deliver judgment in the case in which Gaborone tycoon, Robert Masitara, is facing charges of raping his former employee.

If convicted of rape, Masitara might be jailed for 10 years or, if convicted of a lesser crime of indecent assault, for seven years. Legal experts say the case is complicated and that it is hard to predict which way it will go.

The defense’s main argument in this matter is that there is no proof of rape because no sperms were found on the complainant and there were no bruises on her body.

The prosecution, on the other hand, says that there were no sperms because the complainant had bathed before she was examined. On the issue of bruises, the prosecution said there were none maybe because it was not the first time that the complainant had engaged in sexual intercourse.
The prosecution cited previous cases in which accused persons were convicted of rape without evidence of the sperms on the complainant.

The prosecution also argued that meetings which were called by Masitara’s nephew after the incident were aimed at asking for forgiveness on behalf of Masitara and alleged they offered her money to the amount of P500, 000 as compensation.

But the defence denies this and says that the meetings were called by Masitara’s nephew on her own to hear what the rumours about her uncle were all about.

Legal experts say the two scenarios prove the difficult task Nyamazabo will face in reaching a verdict.

”It is obvious that the task facing the Magistrate in this matter is a very difficult one and we should just wait and see how it goes,” a lawyer, who refused to be named, said.

The case made legal history in Botswana by being the first case to be heard via video conferencing which saw tax payers coughing up close to P13, 000 for the service. This happened after Masitara’s forensic expert, South African Andrian Greef, failed to return to Botswana citing health reasons.

He was cross examined via video conferencing as he had appeared in court for his evidence in chief. The decision for video conferencing was reached by the Court after it found out that it would be easier than moving the Court to South Africa. Meanwhile, the police are still tight lipped regarding the disappearance of some exhibits connected to this case .Former Botswana Police Service Public Relations Officer, Senior Superintendent Witness Bosija, has in the past said that they would not make any comment regarding the alleged disappearance of the exhibits before judgment had been passed.

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