Rogue cop’s rape appeal dismissed – 19 years later
THE long arm of the law finally caught up with a Limpopo police officer who was charged with raping a woman in the holding cells of a police station 19 years ago.
After dodging justice for almost two decades, the Limpopo High Court has now upheld a 12 year sentence imposed on Kenneth Bankuna Nkuna in November 2002.
Nkuna, a police officer at Phalaborwa police station was convicted of rape and defeating the ends of justice after he raped a woman suspect in the holding cells of the station. However, for 16-years Nkuna waged a legal battle appealing his sentence and conviction.
“The appeal was initially served in the Gauteng High Court Pretoria on 5 August 2004 and it was struck off the roll. It appears that when the appeal was heard in the Pretoria High Court in 2004, the appellant was on bail,” Limpopo Deputy Judge President Fikile Mokgohloa wrote in her judgment.
“For 12 years the appellant never reinstated the appeal. It is only after a warrant of his arrest was issued and he was arrested for purpose of him having to start his sentence, did the appellant place the matter on the roll for 2 September 2016,” the judgment said.
She said the appellant did not bring an application for condonation for the late prosecution of the appeal.
“We adjourned the matter to enable the appellant’s counsel to consider the application for condonation, no such application was brought. Instead, the appellant’s counsel made an application for condonation from the bar. We decided to grant condonation and deal with the appeal in the interest of justice,” the judge said.
Nkuna was found guilty of raping an adult woman detained at the Phalaborwa police station in November 1999. The woman cannot be named to protect her identity as a rape victim.
According to the court’s findings the woman was detained in cell number 7 and on 26 November 1999 she requested to be allowed to phone her home. Later that evening, Nkuna, who was on duty came to her cell and took her to the telephone booth for her to make a call. Thereafter he took her back to her cell.
“Later that evening, the appellant (Nkuna) returned to her cell and invited her to come with him to the visitor’s place. The complainant, who was already asleep, woke up and accompanied the appellant to the visitor’s place. She was walking in front. The appellant grabbed her on her shoulders and told her that he wanted to have sexual intercourse with her. The complainant refused but the appellant pushed her to the floor undressed her and raped her,” Mokgohloa said in her judgment.
“Thereafter the complainant returned to her cell crying but did not report the rape incident to her cell mate. The following day in the morning she made a report to one of the police officer... She was then taken to the hospital for examination. Swaps were taken from her and put in the crime kit.”
The court also found that the day after the rape Nkuna attempted to pay bail for the woman through a third party he sent to the police station.
However, the complainant informed the police officer in charge that she could accept money from strangers.
“In fact the complainant testified that there was no bail granted to her because she was serving her sentence.”
Nkuna was positively identified as the suspect by the complainant during an identity parade on December 3 of the same year. The court found that DNA samples extracted from Nkuna were positively linked to the swabs taken from the woman after she had reported the rape.
In his defence, submitted that the trial court erred in relying on the evidence of the DNA test results, arguing that it was incomplete in that the chain evidence was broken. Nkuna also argued that the identification parade evidence was invalid claiming that the parade was not adequately conducted. He also accused the state’s witnesses who included his colleagues, of falsely implicating him in the crime.
However Mokgohloa upheld the findings by the trial court and dismissed the appeal against both Nkuna’s convictions on rape and defeating the ends of justice. She however upheld the appeal against sentence to the extent that both sentences imposed on both counts run concurrently. – Mukurukuru Media
The long arm of the law finally caught up with a Limpopo police officer who was charged with raping a woman in the holding cells of a police station 19 years ago. After dodging justice for almost two decades, the Limpopo High Court has now upheld a 12...