Teek fails in compensation bid

03 May 2021 | Justice

Marc Springer



WINDHOEK

Nearly 11 years after he was acquitted on charges of abducting and raping two minor girls, former Supreme Court judge Pio Teek has finally failed in his bid to obtain compensation for alleged malicious prosecution and defamation.

The decisive defeat results from a judgment delivered in the Supreme Court on Friday in which judges Jeremiah Shongwe, Ernest Sakala and Moses Chinhengo dismissed an appeal Teek had filed against a previous ruling made by judge Herman Oosthuizen in March 2018.

In that judgment, Ooshuizen concluded that Teek had no basis for a lawsuit in which he was claiming N$6.87 million in damages from the justice minister and the Ombudsman for their alleged failure to assist him in trying to sue three foreign judges who set aside his acquittal on child molestation charges.

The protracted litigation has a long history dating back to January 2005 when Teek was first charged with kidnapping and sexually assaulting two underage girls.

These charges, on which Teek was eventually acquitted in December 2010, stemmed from allegations that on the evening of 28 January 2005, he abducted the minors - then nine and 10 years old respectively - from Katutura and brought them to his house in Brakwater outside Windhoek, where he allegedly compelled them to consume alcohol and sexually molested them.

His initial compensation claim emanated from two judgments delivered in the Supreme Court on 21 July 2008 and 28 April 2009.

Not guilty - again

In the first of those, judges Piet Streicher, Kenneth Muthiyane und Fritz Brand granted an appeal by the State against a previous acquittal of Teek. In the second ruling, the same judges set the acquittal aside completely and referred the matter back to the High Court, where Teek was eventually found not guilty again on 16 December 2010.

Teek took exception to those judgments, arguing they neglected to consider facts in his favour and created the impression that he was guilty.

As a result, he sued for damages and requested the registrar of the High Court to have his summons served on the three judges in South Africa. When that didn´t happen and judge Nicholas Ndau dismissed his claim for damages, Teek sued the justice minister and Ombudsman, arguing they hadn‘t done enough to assist him to have the summons served on the three judges, and were therefore liable for the damages he had originally claimed from the previous defendants.

That claim was dismissed by judge Oosthuizen, who concluded that the local High Court did not have jurisdiction over the three foreign judges, as they were not present in Namibia when Teek sued them and he didn‘t show that they were domiciled in Namibia, possessed Namibian citizenship or had property in the country.

In their ruling on Friday, the judges agreed echoed Oosthuizen’s sentiments.

As a result, there was no need to deal with the merits of the case which stood to be dismissed on the point of jurisdiction alone. The verdict being handed down ends Teek‘s quest for compensation and brings to a close one of the longest litigations in Namibian legal history.

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