Investigating officer: Noa raped paralysed patient

10 June 2021 | Justice

Marc Springer



WINDHOEK

Trainee medical doctor Dennis Noa raped a paralysed underage patient who was in no condition to consent to the alleged sexual act, a police investigative officer told the court yesterday.

Detective warrant officer Ester Kawiwa said despite Noa’s version earlier in the week that several medical staff dealt with the patient on the day, she has reliably established that the accused was the only one who dealt with the paralysed patient during the time of his alleged rape.

Two of the accused’s colleagues relayed to Kawiwa that they saw Noa push a bed with the victim lying on it into a conference room and that he locked the door from the inside. According to the witnesses, the accused was seen a while later returning the patient to the head injuries ward.

Kawiwa is opposed to Noa being granted bail, saying the accusations levelled against him are very serious and there is a strong case against him.

When asked by prosecutor Bernadine Bertolini to elaborate on the seriousness of the charges, Kawiwa said: "This is a very serious crime committed against a vulnerable person by someone who was trusted to help people and was perpetrated in a hospital which should be a place of safety".

She added that her investigations were not complete and that she feared the accused may interfere with witnesses, who are all colleagues of his and well known to him.

‘Defamatory and malicious’

The 27-year-old trainee doctor is accused of raping a male patient in the Katutura Intermediate Hospital on 11 April – and was arrested a day later after a condom was allegedly found beside the patient’s hospital bed. He is denying all charges, saying the allegations against him are defamatory and malicious.

In her evidence Kawiwa, who is attached to the police’s gender-based violence (GBV) protection unit, said she questioned six witnesses thus far, who all implicated the accused. According to their statements, the victim was underage and was unable to move or speak following a car accident in which he was seriously injured.

Examinations have revealed that there was a condom and a tissue lying on the bed next to the patient whose anus was "torn and bleeding". According to a witness, "there was no way the paralysed patient could have moved onto his side by himself" and his rectal injuries were a clear indication that "he had been penetrated by either an object or a penis".

Kawiwa further told magistrate Esme Molefe that the patient had been bathed shortly before the incident and could have not sustained the injuries prior to being wheeled away on his bed by the accused.

"The accused was the last person to be seen with the victim and was the only one present in the room with the patient," she emphasised. She conceded, however, that a test for semen was negative, but pointed out that this in itself did not exonerate the accused, who "could have worn a condom or used an object to penetrate the victim".

On a previous occasion, Noa had told the court that he was collecting the patient to bring him to occupational therapy. He further relayed that while on the way, he first stopped at the conference room on the same floor to collect some books he had left there before.

He also said when he left the conference room, he saw a porter and handed the patient over to him.

Mystery porter

In her evidence, Kawiwa cast doubt on that version, saying the occupational health unit was closed on Sundays and was thus not operational at the time of the incident. She further recalled statements by some of the witnesses who said Noa was unable to identify the porter he allegedly handed the patient over to.

"The accused has worked at the hospital for over eight months and should know the porters employed there," Kawiwa testified, adding: "He should also be aware that the occupational therapy unit is closed on weekends and he would have been unable to bring the patient there as claimed".

In addition, she pointed out that patients were only taken to physiotherapy on referral by a doctor which had to be entered into a separate book designed for that purpose. However, upon enquiry, she could neither locate a referral letter or an entry in the book stating that the patient was scheduled to receive physiotherapy. Furthermore, she pointed out that it was the nurses’ duty to make arrangements for occupational therapy and that it would have been "irregular" for the accused, an intern doctor, to collect the patient himself.

Noa is represented by James Diedericks. The bail hearing continues.

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