Kimberley - A 23-year-old Prieska man will hear on Friday how many years he will be spending behind bars after the Northern Cape High Court found him guilty on three charges of rape and two charges of theft.
Acting Judge Vernon Smith found Angelo Visagie guilty on Thursday of raping three women on different occasions in August 2018 and of stealing their possessions after the incidents.
Smith said that although Visagie pointed a finger at the complainants, the magnitude of the evidence was of such a manner that his version was improbable.
“It was the evidence of all the complainants that they did not know the identity of the accused. It was only during an identity parade in Douglas that all three women pointed out that the accused was the person who attacked them. There was also DNA evidence linking the accused to the incidents, although the DNA results were not yet available at the time of the identity parade,” said Smith.
He added that the injuries noted on the complainants during their medical examinations were supportive of their evidence about how they had been attacked.
“The second complainant testified that the accused grabbed her around the throat and showed with her fingers how he throttled her. The doctor who examined the complainant afterwards testified that the injuries to her throat fitted the description of how she was throttled, with the injuries appearing to be marks made by finger nails.”
Smith said that the evidence found during the investigation also pointed to Visagie as being the attacker.
“The second complainant said she had a backpack while she was waiting for her lift at the hiking spot when she was approached by the accused. She threw this bag down when her attacker dragged her to the railway line and bushes. She said he had a little knife on him and she pleaded with him not to stab her. The attacker then used a plastic bread packet as a condom to have intercourse with her. He then left the plastic at the scene and told her not to look at him when he walked off. This backpack was found during the investigation where the accused sleeps at the dumping site.
“The first complainant also testified that the man who attacked her had a small knife on him which he threw against the rock where he raped her. The third complainant said the person who attacked her scratched her on the arm with a small butter knife. All these women did not, at that stage, know the identity of their attacker.”
Smith said that the accused’s version of events, that he was approached by the complainants, was unlikely.
“The accused said all three complainants knew him and that the third complainant even knew his parents. The evidence of the complainants were in total contrast to that of the accused. The accused, however, adjusted his testimony and could not answer regarding the behaviour of the women.
“The accused is a man with many coincidences. He was approached by three women who initiated intercourse. According to the accused the women took an immediate liking to him and even referred to him as a cute man. The first complainant even wanted a baby with him. The same three women on three different occasions, however, accused him of rape.”
Smith stated that the facts of the case speak for themselves.
“The accused was an unfaithful witness. His evidence was clouded and he repeatedly changed his version of events. There were cracks in his evidence and he later had to admit his own version was strange,” Smith said.
Advocate Quinton Hollander, who represented the State, requested a lengthy incarceration for Visagie, adding that the victim impact report showed that the three women currently live in fear as a result of the attack.
“The first complainant indicated in the report that she could go anywhere freely before the incident but is currently afraid of going anywhere. She said she is fearful that the accused will suddenly show up.
“The second complainant said she was not afraid of men prior to the incident. Currently, she is unable to sleep and has to drink at least two beers to sleep and function. She said she felt dirty inside and felt like committing suicide. She is now afraid of men.
“The third complainant said she is a quiet and reserved person who did not like going out. She would spend her days at home. She now has sleepless nights and does not have an appetite for food.”
Hollander said that although Visagie was still young, the court should not see his youthfulness as a mitigating factor.
“The accused is an adult. One of the worst factors of the case was that the accused did not use protection in one of the cases. This not only exposed the complainants to sexual transmitted diseases but also to the sexual history of the accused. He is young but he was living as an adult.”