Senior Durban advocate Mike Govindasamy

Durban - Advocate Mike Govindasamy broke down on Thursday when he described to the court how a relative – who accuses him of indecently assaulting and raping her – told him she worked as a scantily clad “tequila girl” at a club, encouraging patrons to put money into her bikini pants and “boobs”.

He claims it was his threat to expose her behaviour to her father that resulted in her laying criminal charges against him.

Govindasamy, a senior counsel practising at the Durban Bar, is charged in the Durban High Court with indecently assaulting the woman in 2007 when she was 15 and then raping her in 2010, both incidents allegedly occurring in his bedroom in his Effingham Heights home. He has denied the charges.

This week, at the end of the State’s case, he tried to have the charges discharged. But Judge Fikile Mokgohloa ruled against him on Thursday, saying she would give reasons later.

Govindasamy then took the stand and described his encounters with the complainant, who was close to his family.

She had come to stay with them in 2007 after her mother had died of a burst pancreas. She had been traumatised, accusing her father of killing her mother because he had had an affair.

Govindasamy said even though there was a spare bed, she had wanted to sleep between him and his wife in their bed. His wife had agreed and he had gone along with it.

But allegations that he had sexually assaulted her were an “absolute lie”.

In 2010, she had come to stay again and had attended a surprise birthday for him. There were no spare bedrooms and she had slept on a mattress on the floor of their bedroom.

She alleges the rape occurred on the mattress after Govindasamy’s wife left the house. But Govindasamy said this was a lie, and that the bedroom door was open all the time and his sons were nearby.

He said she had stayed with them the whole day, at the beach and then at Gateway shopping centre and had only gone home with her father late that night.

He said the night before the alleged rape, she had been with him in his car when he had dropped relatives off after his surprise birthday party.

“She was talking to someone on the phone… it had a sexual connotation. I asked her what was going on. She said she was a tequila girl. She said she wore a skimpy outfit and walked around selling tequila. Patrons stuck money into her bikini top and boobs,” he said, breaking down.

“I told her I would tell her father. She begged me not to, but I was not prepared to give in.”

When he was told in July that she had laid the charges against him he, his wife and family were “in a state of absolute shock”.

He said his wife was devastated because it was dividing the family, and, while visiting her daughter in Cape Town, had contact with the complainant’s father.

“She wanted him to fix it… to find a way to do so in the interests of the family. He said he was amenable to meet, but I did not think it was right to have any discussion with him or his daughter.”

Govindasamy said that after a conversation with another relative, he contacted the father and asked to meet. The father agreed, but said he would report the conversation to the prosecutor.

The trial has been adjourned until later in the year.

The Mercury