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A young woman who has accused a senior advocate of indecent assault and rape testified on Thursday how she was pinned down and told to keep quiet during one of the alleged incidents three years ago.
The woman was testifying during her cross-examination in the trial of Mike Govindasamy.
Govindasamy, 57, a senior counsel at the Durban Bar, has pleaded not guilty before Durban High Court Judge Fikile Mokgohloa to charges that he indecently assaulted the woman in 2007, when she was about 17, and raped her in 2010, when she was 19.
She alleges that both incidents occurred in Govindasamy’s bedroom in his Effingham Heights home. The indecent assault, she alleges, occurred while she slept between him and his wife, and the rape while she slept on a mattress in their bedroom.
In her testimony on Thursday, the woman described how she awoke to find Govindasamy lying on top of her.
“I was lying on my stomach and I did not know who it was because at first I could only feel the person’s facial hair. I made a noise and then I heard a voice say ‘be quiet’. I recognised that it was Mike (Govindasamy). He had his legs between mine and I could not move. He then assaulted me. I moved on to my side, but he continued.”
Defence advocate Murray Pitman asked the woman if she would dispute that, at the time when she alleged the rape took place, the bedroom door had been open.
The woman said she could not dispute that.
She also conceded that she had previously falsely accused people, including when she reported a housebreaking and told the police that she suspected her flatmate. She was charged with perjury, which was later withdrawn when a psychological report was given to the court. In the report the psychologist said the woman suffered from a major depressive disorder and a multiple personality disorder.
She also admitted that she told lies about herself, including about her identity. She said she created a fake identity for herself – that she was older, British and studying for a Master’s in Law degree – after the alleged incidents to get away from the problems in her life.
“I wanted to step out of the reality of my life and it just escalated. I was 18 or 19, very alone and dealing with the emotional repercussions of what had happened to me.”
The case continues on Friday.