Rape-accused’s lawyer absolves client of rape

Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
The Harare man accused of taking advantage of his neighbour’s absence to sneak into his bedroom and become intimate with his wife has maintained that he did not rape the woman. He says he only kissed and fondled her, with her consent.

Nkosilathi Sibanda (27) is alleged to have tiptoed into his neighbour’s bedroom while naked in the wee hours and got into the woman’s blankets. It is the State’s case that the accused started caressing and kissing the woman before raping her.

Sibanda, who is denying the rape allegations, appeared in court last week before Mr Hosiah Mujaya for commencement of the defence case following the dismissal of his application for discharge at the close of the State’s case.

Sibanda, through his lawyer Mr Tapiwa Makanza, successfully made an application to recall State witnesses, saying they had audio recordings they intended to play in court and recross-examine the witnesses.

He and the woman’s house mate, identified as Miriam, recorded a conversations between the victim and her relatives as she was informing them of what had transpired. In the recordings, the woman is heard crying while making a phone call to her cousin, asking her to rush to her house, saying Sibanda had fondled her in the dark.

She is also heard informing her relatives that she felt that the person fondling her was heavier and his skin’s scent was different from that of her husband. Mr Makanza questioned why the woman did not tell her relatives that Sibanda had raped her, but instead told them that he fondled her.

“In your evidence, you told the court that you became aware that it was not your husband when Sibanda penetrated you, adding that his manhood was different from that of your husband,” he said.

“But in the audio clip, you are telling a different story. You told your cousin that you felt that the person fondling you was heavier and his skin’s scent was different from that of your husband before switching on the light. So, at what point did he rape you?

“Why did you not give your relatives all the details of what had transpired if indeed he had raped you?”

In another recording, one of the woman’s relatives was heard shouting at Sibanda, asking him why he attempted to rape the woman.

“Why did you do this?,” said Mr Makanza.

“Do you know that at law it is an offence? So, after fondling her what did you want to do next? You wanted to rape her, right?”

Mr Makanza then said: “This is a clear indication that you were not raped, but only fondled and kissed by my client with your consent.

“You fabricated the rape allegations and lied in your evidence to suit the court proceedings.”

In response, the woman said when her relatives came to the house, she was still in a state of shock, hence she could not give them all the details. She said she later confided in one of her cousins, whom she took to another room and told her she had been raped. The woman insisted that Sibanda raped her, but the accused insists the two had an affair. The trial continues on Saturday.

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