WINDHOEK, 18 SEP – A Swakopmund resident accused of receiving and harbouring minor children for sexual exploitation, was found guilty as charged in the High Court here on Tuesday.
Bertus Koch, 42, was found guilty on five counts of receiving and harbouring five minor girls between the ages of nine and 13 for sexual exploitation between November 2015 and May 2016 in the DRC informal settlement in Swakopmund in the Erongo Region.
In addition, Koch was found guilty on five alternative counts dealt under the provisions of the Combating of Indecent and Immoral Practices Act 7 of 2000 for having exposed the five minor girls to pornographic materials depicting naked women and for personally undressing himself and exposing his private parts in full view of the little girls.
Handing down the verdict, High Court Judge-President Petrus Damaseb said he was satisfied that the State proved its case beyond reasonable doubt, that the accused had indeed received and kept the five minor girls on several occasions inside the room of his corrugated iron-zinc house for sexual exploitation.
Meanwhile, Koch was, however, not found guilty and discharged on five counts of having raped the five minor girls following the prosecution’s failure to prove these charges beyond reasonable doubt.
“There is no physical evidence before court showing that the accused had indeed raped the five complainants. The testimonies of the five complainants in respect of the charges of rape are contradictory, full of discrepancies and inconsistent,” said Damaseb.
Koch returns to the Windhoek High Court on 27 September 2018 for the presentation of the pre-sentencing evidence.
State Advocate Innocentia Nyoni represented the prosecution in the matter, while defence lawyer Mpokiseng Dube appeared for Koch under the instruction of the Directorate of Legal Aid in the Ministry of Justice.
Evidence presented before court during trial had it that Koch had lured the five minor girls into his house with the promise of food and sweets due to the poor family backgrounds of the children.
Koch’s trial was conducted behind closed doors as the victims were all minors.
He remains in police custody at the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility.