Rape trial: war of words in court

2013-02-09 00:00

A RAPE trial descended into bitter squabbles between the judge and both legal teams as the cross examination of the complainant turned sour.

Durban advocate Mayakisten Govindasamy is accused of raping a relative and sexually assaulting her. He has pleaded not guilty.

His lawyer, Murray Pitman, continued to grill the 23-year-old complainant yesterday in the Durban high court.

Pitman asked her why she failed to call for help when Govindasamy’s two children were in the house just metres away.

The woman had claimed moments earlier that she was trying to move away from Govindasamy and ended up moving towards the wall while he pinned her down on a mattress in his bedroom.

Pitman asked: “If you were trying to get away from him why would you move towards the wall and not away from it?”

This infuriated Judge Fikile Mokgohloa, who lambasted Pitman for engaging in a unfair line of questioning.

She said she would refuse to allow the question to stand.

“Was it wrong for her to have turned to face the wall at that moment?” she asked.

However, Pitman shot back, arguing that he was entitled to cross-examine the witness.

Moments later, state prosecutor Dorian Paver appeared to have mumbled a snide comment under his breath, which set the stage for a verbal showdown between the two lawyers.

Pitman reminded the judge that he was entitled to protection when doing his job, especially in the face of provocation from Paver.

“Your Worship, I am rattled and I will need to get my head in order. I cannot continue like this,” he said.

Paver responded by saying that Pitman had many years of experience and should not behave as if he was part of a young girls’ debating society.

Mokgohloa reprimanded Paver: “Keep what you want to say to yourself,” she said.

The trial was adjourned until Monday.

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