Doctor abused position with rape of patient

Dennis Noa

Former trainee medical doctor Dennis Noa had a duty of care towards the patient he was convicted of raping at Katutura Intermediate Hospital in April 2011, but took advantage of his position “to quench his sexual appetite”, a magistrate commented during Noa’s sentencing in the Windhoek Regional Court yesterday.

It is aggravating that the patient Noa (29) was found to have raped was not only in hospital, but was in a vegetative state and unable to communicate, walk or feed himself, which made him vulnerable beyond measure, magistrate Victor Nyazo said before informing Noa he was being sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment.

For ordinary men and women, a hospital is a place of hope, care, recovery, life and revival, Nyazo said.

Quoting renowned nurse Florence Nightingale, he added that the very first requirement of a hospital is that it should do the sick no harm.

The fact that Noa lost his medical career as a result of being found guilty of rape is a substantial factor to be taken into account, but would not compel the court to deviate from imposing the minimum sentence prescribed in the Combating of Rape Act, which is a period of five years’ imprisonment, Nyazo said as well.

He continued that the aggravating circumstances in the case before him outweighed Noa’s personal circumstances by far, and entitle the court to impose a sentence beyond the prescribed minimum prison term of five years.

The magistrate agreed with defence lawyer James Diedericks’ argument that the minimum period of imprisonment applicable in Noa’s case is five years, and not 15 years as was argued by state advocate Palmer Kumalo during a presentence hearing on Tuesday.

Noa was accused of raping an 18-year-old patient at Katutura Intermediate Hospital, where he was an intern doctor, on 11 April 2021.

The patient was being treated in the hospital following a road accident in which he had suffered a severe head injury.
Noa denied guilt throughout his trial, which started in April last year.

In the judgement in which he found Noa guilty four and a half weeks ago, Nyazo said Noa was the last person known to have come into contact with the patient before injuries were observed in the patient’s anal area.

The magistrate also noted that no one knew or saw the hospital porter that Noa said he had given the patient to, and from whom he later received the patient back on 11 April 2021.

Noa told the court during the trial that he handed the patient to a porter, who was supposed to take him for occupational therapy.

The court also heard, though, that the hospital’s occupational therapists were not working on the day in question.

Nyazo concluded that Noa was the only person who had a window of opportunity to sexually violate the patient.

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