Rape-accused's bail revoked

HARARE - A Harare man will spend the festive season behind bars after he attempted to intimidate the complainant to withdraw rape charges against him inside the court room, prompting a magistrate to revoke his bail conditions.

Luka James, 24, who is accused of attempting to rape his neighbour’s maid, had come for routine remand when the incident occurred.

Last month, James was remanded out of custody on $100 bail. As part of his bail conditions, he was ordered not to interfere with witnesses.

Prosecutor Shepherd Makonde made the application to revoke James’ bail, saying he attempted to influence the 18-year-old into dropping the charges against him.

“As part of his bail conditions, the accused was ordered not to interfere with witnesses until the matter is finalised but he sat next to her in this very court room and tried to intimidate her into dropping the charges.

“He has also been calling the complainant and asking her to drop the charges,” Makonde told the court.

In his response, James admitted sitting next to the girl and communicating with her.

“Indeed, I’m the one who sat next to her but we never spoke. I however called her as my former lover. I spoke to her because we were once in love and she agreed to withdraw the allegations. I even have records of the conversations I had with her,” James admitted, stunning the gallery.

James’ admission prompted Harare magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa to revoke his bail.

Mugwagwa said: “If you admit that you spoke to the complainant to have the charges withdrawn, that’s interference. Your bail conditions are hereby revoked.”

Mugwagwa remanded him to January 16 for trial. Allegations against James are that sometime in November 2018, he proposed love to the complainant but she turned him down. It is alleged that on November 19, James followed the complainant inside the house after she finished doing laundry.

The court heard that James started pushing the 18-year-old girl against the kitchen wall while attempting to undress her and tore the complainant’s skirt in the process.

It is the State’s case that amidst the scuffle, the complainant noticed that James was already putting on a condom as his zip was wide open. The complainant, who was alone at the house, screamed for help but no one heard her, the court heard.

The girl reportedly managed to escape. As she was running to the bathroom to lock herself, James caught up with her and dragged her to the pantry where he allegedly fondled her breasts, tearing her top in the process.

When the girl threatened to report James to her employer, he allegedly continued fondling her. It is alleged that James gave up and fled from the house. The girl called her employer and informed her about the incident.

 

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