Nurse 'relieved' after rape acquittal

2013-02-13 14:40
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Bloemfontein - Male nurse Michael Moema was on Wednesday acquitted on two charges of rape after the Free State High Court found there was a reasonable possibility that he had not raped cancer patient Magda Lombard at the National Hospital in Bloemfontein.

Judge Faan Hancke acquitted Moema, 33, saying there were strong possibilities in favour of both the State's and Moema’s case. The evidence held very little support for the woman’s statement on the rape.

Judge Hancke found it totally unacceptable that hospital personnel had not immediately reported the allegations to the police.

"If the hospital personnel handled the case properly, this matter would have been either unnecessary or could be completed within a day."

Hancke hoped health authorities would take note of the case, so that such unprofessional conduct could be avoided in future.

The court held that although Moema was not a model witness, his version that no rape had taken place could be reasonably true.

Relief

There were tears of joy in the public gallery, where some of Moema's colleagues were seated, the moment the translator announced the not guilty verdict.

As Moema walked out of the dock, his face in his hands, several of his colleagues hugged him.

Moema said outside the court he was relieved with the decision. He said the allegation that he had raped the patient was "a pure lie and that you cannot mix a lie with the truth".

"I'm very relieved," he said.

Lombard, 51, had claimed that she was raped as she lay paralysed and dying in the hospital in October 2011, and that a female nurse held her down.

She died in the Bloemfontein MediClinic a month later.

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