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SEVEN years after he was initially charged with rape, the State has finally proved its case against Nyiko Ubisi beyond reasonable doubt.
Yesterday at the Johannesburg High Court, Acting Judge Harold Knopp found that Ubisi had been an “evasive, unimpressive and lying witness”.
Ubisi is charged with the rape of then 18-year-old Thandeka (not her real name) in Tembisa in December 2004.
Other charges are three counts of murder, two of attempted murder, four of unlawful possession of a firearm, and three of unlawful possession of ammunition.
As he began his lengthy judgment, Judge Knopp said: “This incident happened as long ago as December 2004. The accused (Ubisi) was arrested for the possession of an unlicensed firearm and was granted bail. He absconded on June 13, 2005 when a warrant for his arrest was issued.
“He was at large until June 2009 when he was arrested on an unrelated charge. The docket for this rape case went missing with all the original statements and documents… New statements were taken in 2009, the case came to trial in 2011… seven years after the incident.”
Thandeka was assaulted and raped after she had gone out with Ubisi and two other acquaintances to a party in the area. As the night drew to a close, Ubisi and a male friend booked into a Formula 1 hotel where Thandeka was raped.
Ubisi’s defence had argued that the intercourse with Thandeka was consensual. However, the court found that Thandeka was a truthful, intelligent and sensitive witness.
“The complainant was adamant she and the accused were merely friends and the accused forced himself on her. She had bruises on her face from being assaulted and after the incident was crying and in a state of shock… Her sensitivity is evidenced in her becoming emotional during testimony and breaking down and crying,” he said.
The judge said it was inconceivable that Thandeka would go through the trauma of testifying and being subjected to cross-examination after seven years if her evidence was a fabrication.
“The court finds the complainant was truthful and credible in all material respects.”
The evidence of two other State witnesses who corroborated the rape was accepted as truthful.
“The court accepts the evidence of the complainant and rejects the defence version of consensual intercourse. The court finds the State has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt,” he said.
Judge Knopp is set to complete his judgment this morning on the rest of the charges.