Doctor’s rape trial heads to verdict

Dennis Noa

A medical doctor accused of raping a patient in a Windhoek hospital in April 2021 is due to hear the verdict in his trial in two months’ time.

This is after Windhoek Regional Court magistrate Victor Nyazo yesterday postponed the delivery of his judgement in the doctor’s trial to 17 January.

Nyazo postponed his judgement after hearing closing arguments from state advocate Palmer Kumalo and defence lawyer James Diedericks, who is representing the 29-year-old Dennis Noa in his trial.

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

The state is alleging that the patient, who was being treated at the hospital’s head injury unit, was unconscious and incapacitated as a result of a severe head injury and that Noa abused his position of power over the patient by raping him.

Noa denied guilt on charges of rape and attempted murder when his trial started in April this year.

Nyazo acquitted him on the count of attempted murder after the state closed its case in his trial.

According to testimony heard during the trial, Noa collected the patient from his room in the hospital during the morning of 11 April 2021 and wheeled the patient’s bed into a conference room.

According to Noa, he went into the conference room to collect a backpack and books that he had left in the room.

He handed the patient over to a hospital porter afterwards, as he was supposed to be taken for occupational therapy, Noa said.

After Noa had returned the patient to his room later, a physiotherapist who was supposed to work with the patient reported that he had found an unused condom and paper tissue lying next to the patient on his bed, and had observed a clear fluid dripping down the patient’s anal area.

Kumalo observed yesterday that Noa is the only person who saw the porter that he said he had handed the patient to. He argued that there was no porter to whom the patient had been given, and that the porter was a fabrication of Noa. The incident took place on a Sunday, when occupational therapy was not being done at the hospital, Kumalo also noted.

Kumalo argued that the prosecution’s evidence showed a sexual act had been committed with the patient.

Noa was the only person who had an opportunity to carry out such an act, and he did that after he had taken the patient into the conference room, Kumalo also argued, before asking the magistrate to convict Noa of rape.

Diedericks remarked that the state’s case appeared to be that Noa hid in the conference room, where he raped a patient and then left “conspicuously displayed incriminating evidence” behind in the patient’s bed in the form of an unused condom and a paper tissue.

There is no evidence that the condom found in the bed had been there before the physiotherapist went into the patient’s room, Diedericks argued.

He also argued that the evidence does not show that the patient was in fact sexually assaulted.

Although a forensic examination was done, the state withheld the results of that examination from the court, Diedericks argued as well.
He charged: “The case that the state brings, is a fanciful, ridiculous story.”

Diedericks added that the state’s case was based on “conjecture and suspicion”. The continued prosecution of Noa despite the evidence that the state had in its possession was “a disgrace”, he said.

Noa should be found not guilty, Diedericks suggested.

Noa was arrested on 12 April 2021 and was held in custody for nearly three months before he was granted bail in an amount of N$10 000 in July 2021.

He remains free on bail.

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