Judgment Expected Soon in Sex Trade

Judgment will on June 2 be given against the remaining accused in the trial in which two women are accused of selling minor girls for sex, Judge President Petrus Damaseb said on Friday.

Swakopmund resident Johanna Lukas will then hear whether the court accepted her version or that of the State.

Charges have already been withdrawn against her co-accused after State Aocate Innocencia Nyoni conceded there is no case against Zambian citizen, Gwen Nelwembe.

Lukas, who is now alone, is charged with five counts of trafficking in persons, five counts of rape and one count of soliciting or enticing a minor to commission a sexual or an indecent or immoral act and rape on diverse occasions.

The State alleges Lukas offered two minor girls up for sale to Swakopmund resident Marthinus Martin Pretorius during April, May and June 2012 for sex under coercive circumstances being that the girls were, because of their ages, exceptionally vulnerable.

Pretorius, who is a South African citizen, was at the time of the incidents employed at one of the uranium mines at the coast.

He managed to evade arrest and is currently believed to be in his native South Africa. While Nyoni on Friday conceded the charge of soliciting or enticing a minor was not proven, she maintained that the State did prove all the other allegations against Lukas.

She argued that while the evidence of the two complainants was single witness evidence, it contained so much detail that it must be accepted as the truth.

She said the complainants’ testimonies were corroborated by material evidence such as the telephone records of both the accused and one of the complainants.

She further said that the accused was not an honest witness.

She based this on the fact that the accused at any time changed her version to suit the circumstances.

According to Nyoni, the accused, when she was confronted with evidence made U-turns.

“It is submitted that the accused’s defense totally crumbled, as the trial progressed and that the court can only accept the testimony of the accused if it can be said to be reasonably possibly true,” she stressed and continued that when the evidence presented in this trial is looked at in its totality the accused’s evidence is not reasonably possibly true.

Therefore, she said, it was proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the offences she is charged with and should be accordingly convicted.

Lukas’ State-funded legal representative argued that the State failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt and the accused should be acquitted on all charges.

According to Louis Karsten, the State to a great extent relies on single witnesses, which are to be treated with the utmost care.

He argued that the first complainant was an evasive witness and her testimony was full of contradictions. He said that the complainant was not truthful in her evidence and seemed “withholding”.

According to Karsten, it was in fact the first complainant and not the accused, who recruited the second complainant.

Karsten reminded the court that the evidence of single witnesses must be dealt with carefully and should not be accepted on face value, especially in this instance where the single witnesses are minors, he concluded.

Source : New Era