Rogue cop’s rape ap­peal dis­missed – 19 years later

African Times - - News - LU­CAS LED­WABA

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...

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