Windhoek High Court Judge Claudia Claasen has refused to grant a section 174 discharge in the case of Russian national Alexander Krylov and Namibian Anna Katrina Engelbrecht.
The 58-year-old Krylov, who had admitted he had intercourse with at least five under-aged girls during 2017, but denied that he raped any of them, wanted the court to dismiss the charges against them.
The duo is facing 42 counts of rape and child trafficking in addition to a charge of supplying minors with cigarettes.
In her ruling, Claasen said the standard of proof at this juncture is that of a prima facie case and not reasonable doubt.
She added there was sufficient evidence to put the accused on their defence.
“Ultimately, the court had to assess whether the State has prima facie evidence on the charges in the indictment, given the problems in credibility counsel for the applicant has pointed out,” the judge remarked.
In his submissions, Marinus Scholtz on behalf of Krylov and Engelbrecht (29) argued that the testimonies of the complainants are sketchy at best and while some of it like the sexual encounters can be true, the rest of the testimony is suspect, to say the least.
The judge further said that there is case law that not all contradictions are material and will necessarily result in the total destruction of the credibility of a witness.
Suffice it to say, the judge said, that the credibility of witnesses plays a limited role at this stage of proceedings.
“That is unless the evidence was so incurably bad that nothing can come from it,” she further stated.
“Despite inconsistencies in some respects, omissions and or anomalies in witness statements, there was congruence as regards to the material issues, namely the occurrence of sexual acts for the payment of money as well as that the complainants were given cigarettes by accused one (Krylov).”
She further said that Krylov also freely admitted having had sexual encounters with all complainants on various dates at his flat.
In these circumstances, the judge said, there is sufficient evidence at this juncture and refused the application on all counts for both accused.
Engelbrecht allegedly recruited the five victims, aged between 15 and 16, for Krylov and bringing them to him for alleged sexual intercourse. Krylov is a marine pilot and was apparently out at sea while the case was being investigated before his arrest.
It is alleged that Krylov committed sexual acts with the five girls during 2017.
Three of the victims are pupils at Swakopmund and Walvis Bay schools, while two are school dropouts.
Krylov, also known as “Sir Alex” was arrested in October 2017 at Walvis Bay after police launched a month’s investigation.
His alleged sexual crimes came to light in September after a parent of one of the minors noticed that her daughter had been going missing for several days without a valid explanation.
The girl later confessed that Krylov picked them up at Kuisebmond and took them to his flat in town, where they allegedly engaged in various sexual acts during the weekend. Krylov, who has been living in Namibia for the past 15 years, has admitted to paying N$100 to the girls in exchange for sex.
He also said that he was not aware at the time that the girls were under aged.
According to him, he met the girls through his co-accused and was told that they were all above 16 years of age.
Both Krylov and Engelbrecht are free on a warning.