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A relative of a young woman who has accused a senior Durban advocate of indecent assault and rape testified on Tuesday that the 21-year-old cried uncontrollably when she had called her, moments after the alleged rape.
The relative, who cannot be named to protect the alleged victim, said she got a phone call from the complainant on the morning of July 17, 2010.
“I was asleep when she called me. She sounded very distraught and she was crying,” she told the Durban High Court.
Advocate Mike Govindasamy, 57, a senior counsel at the Durban Bar, has pleaded not guilty before Judge Fikile Mokgohloa to charges that he indecently assaulted the woman in 2007, when she was about 16, and raped her in 2010, when she was 19.
“She told me Mike had hurt her and Mike was on her,” the relative testified on Tuesday. “I asked her if she was okay and she continued to cry.” The call then cut off, she said.
Some time later, the woman said she went to the beach to meet the complainant who was in the company of Govindasamy’s son, Kshetra.
She said she sat on the shore with the complainant, while Kshetra went for a swim, but the complainant did not speak.
“Her personality is generally fun and outspoken. I could gather that she was upset,” the witness testified.
“She was very withdrawn and appeared absent and blank.”
Kshetra, the complainant and the woman then met Govindasamy and his wife, Sylvia, for breakfast at Joe Cool’s, a North Beach restaurant, the court heard.
After breakfast the woman said she asked the complainant if she wanted to leave with her, but she declined, saying that her belongings were at Govindasamy’s home.
“I was concerned about her being at Mike’s place, based on the call and our meeting at the beach,” she said.
Almost a week later, at another relative’s home, the complainant gave a detailed account of the alleged rape, the court heard.
“She was in the bedroom, crying uncontrollably. Her dad told me she wasn’t eating,” the woman said.
The complainant had testified that she was lying on the mattress, prepared for her by Govindasamy’s wife, when she awoke to someone lying on top of her. She realised it was Govindasamy by his facial hair first, and then by his voice when he told her to be quiet.
“She cried a lot while she explained how he (Govindasamy) used his hands to hurt her,” the woman said. It was not the first time that Govindasamy had touched the complainant, she said.
The woman testified that in 2008 or 2009, after the death of her mother, the complainant had told her that Govindasamy touched her inappropriately.
“We were in bed, chatting when she told me that Mike touched certain parts of her body he shouldn’t be (touching). She told me not to tell anyone and I told her to be careful.”
During cross-examination, defence advocate Murray Pitman asked the woman why, given the opportunity, she had not taken the complainant away with her after the report of the alleged rape.
The woman said she had not left the complainant alone, and that the complainant had told her that her father would fetch her from Govindasamy’s house.