Durban - Durban advocate Mike Govindasamy claims he was practising celibacy at the time that he is alleged to have raped a young relative.
He revealed this under cross-examination by prosecutor Dorian Paver in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday.
Govindasamy, senior counsel practising at the Durban Bar and a former acting judge, was testifying in his defence.
He is charged with indecently assaulting the complainant in 2007 when she was 15, and then raping her in 2010.
Both incidents allegedly occurred in his bedroom in his Effingham Heights home.
Govindasamy has denied the charges.
He claimed the complainant laid criminal charges against him because he had threatened to expose her unbecoming behaviour to her father.
She allegedly told Govindasamy that she worked as a scantily clad “tequila girl” at a club, encouraging patrons to put money into her bikini top.
On Monday Paver asked Govindasamy to elaborate on the physical relationship he shared with his wife at the time of the alleged rape.
Govindasamy said his wife was a member of the Brahma Kumaris, which is a Hindu organisation providing education in spiritual and moral values.
“You are not obliged to take a vow of celibacy, it is dependent on your spiritual development and is a voluntary thing. My wife and I decided a few years before the alleged incident that we would abstain from sexual relations. We were both in the same spiritual frame of mind,” Govindasamy said.
Paver suggested that it must have been difficult to suppress his sexual urges, but Govindasamy said he had reached a stage in his life where he “did not have urges any more”.
Govindasamy also revealed that after he was charged in 2010, he had hired a private investigator to dig up information on his relative to bolster his claim that she was a liar.
“I had information that she had lied on previous occasions and needed evidence of this.”
He said he had fired the investigator after the prosecution made “threats” that his bail would be revoked.
Paver revealed to the court that this was because Govindasamy’s investigator was interfering with state witnesses, including the complainant.
“This was the act of a desperate man. You were forced to resort to this after your influence in the family proved insufficient to get the woman to withdraw her allegations,” Paver said.
Responding to Paver, Govindasamy said he was completely innocent, claiming that he was the victim of a false allegation.
The accused said he did not know why the woman would go to such extremes - to allow herself to be vilified in court, have her psychological condition attacked and subject herself to four days of cross-examination by Govindasamy’s advocate - if she was lying.
“I do not know how her mind functions. I don’t know why she did what she did… but it was a shocking, humiliating and disgusting fabrication,” Govindasamy said.
He conceded that he had shared a “close” relationship with the complainant when she was younger, but said she was “an eccentric kid who demanded attention” and enjoyed being in the spotlight.
He said that on the night before the alleged rape, she was “holding on to him” and demanding his attention.
“She insisted that I acknowledge her as a beautiful girl and also mentioned to all her other aunts and uncles that were present that she loved me the most,” Govindasamy said.
When asked why he did not discourage this type of behaviour, he replied that he viewed the complainant as his child.
“My daughters hang on to me as well, but I do not push them away,” he said. “I regarded her as a kid… my kid”.
The trial continues.