‘My niece told me of rape by advocate’

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Independent Newspapers

Durban - The aunt of a young woman who has accused senior Durban advocate Mike Govindasamy of indecently assaulting and raping her said she had told her about both incidents soon after they had allegedly happened.

The aunt, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the complainant, broke down on Tuesday when she was asked to describe what she had been told.

“This is very difficult for me,” she said, wiping tears from her face and explaining to Durban High Court Judge Fikile Mokgohloa that she knew the Govindasamy family and the complainant’s family well.

The complainant alleged that Govindasamy indecently assaulted her in 2007 when she was 17 and then raped her in 2010 when she was 19.

She said both incidents happened in Govindasamy’s bedroom in his home in Effingham Heights.

He has pleaded not guilty, claiming the woman suffers from personality disorders, lied to get attention and had previously laid false housebreaking charges against a housemate.

The complainant is still under cross-examination by defence advocate Murray Pitman and is to return to the witness stand on Thursday after having asked for a break.

In the meantime, State advocate Dorian Paver called her aunt who, the State alleges, was the “first report” for both alleged incidents.

She said her niece had confided in her in 2008 that “Mike had touched parts of her body he should not have”.

“She didn’t want to give me details. She asked me not to tell anyone. I told her to be careful,” she said.

The aunt said early one morning in July 2010, she had been woken by her cellphone. Her niece was “distraught and crying”, saying “Mike was on her” and had hurt her. She said he had gone to the bathroom.

“I told her to get up and go to her aunt. Then the call (was) disconnected. I messaged her and she messaged back to say her aunt was not there.”

The woman said she offered to fetch her niece, but she had said that she was going to the beach with her cousin, Govindasamy’s son Kshetra, and she must meet her there.

“When I got there, she didn’t speak. I could see she was withdrawn… absent.”

She again offered to take her niece home, but the complainant said she needed to fetch her belongings and her dad would fetch her from Govindasamy’s house.

She saw her niece later in the week, at another relatives’ house, where she had been “crying uncontrollable”.

She told her aunt she had been asleep on her stomach on a mattress in Govindasamy’s bedroom, and had woken up with someone on top her. She had felt facial hair and when she had tried to make a noise, she had been told to keep quiet.

“She told me she knew from the voice it was… she cried a lot and explained to me what happened.”

Under cross-examination, Pitman suggested to her that there were at least three opportunities at the beach when her niece could have gone with her.

After the lunch adjournment the aunt asked to be excused for the afternoon because she had a headache.

The case resumes on Wednesday.

The Mercury


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