Rape accused Mareko denied bail

By Marianne Nghidengwa

TOBIAS Mareko, the man accused of having sexually violated and raped his girlfriend’s underage daughter over a period of nearly five years was on Tuesday denied bail by Windhoek Magistrate Samunzala Linus Samunzala.

Mareko has been praying to be released on bail during a week-long bail application hearing, stating that he feared losing his job and also wanted to resume his duties to be able to support his son (that he shares with the rape victim’s mother) and elderly father.

Mareko’s defence attorney, Jan Wessels, told the court that his client was willing to pay N$25,000 and would report himself to the police three times a week if granted bail.

Samunzala, however, dismissed the bail application saying the matter was serious and that it was not in the public interest or the administration of justice to grant him bail.  He then postponed the matter to 18 November to allow further police investigations.

Mareko remains in custody at the Windhoek Central Police Station. He faces a charge of rape after allegedly repetitively sexually abusing and raping the girl-child since she was 11 years old between 2015 and 2019 in a home they shared in Windhoek. The girl is now 15.

During his bail application hearing, renowned social worker Dr Veronica Theron told the court that the ordeal had left the girl emotionally numb, a sign of deep trauma and said the child was more worried about the well-being of her mother and the alleged abuser than herself, now that the matter is public.

The victim, according to Theron, related that the sexual abuse started with Mareko innocently getting into her bed and ultimately progressed to him touching her inappropriately on her breasts, buttocks and finally her private parts.

She narrated that the incidents happened when her mother went for boot camp, where she was mostly dropped off by Mareko. He would return home knowing he would be alone with the child.

At times, he would allegedly sexually harass her when her mother was asleep. This, she said, happened at least four times a week. After touching her inappropriately, it soon progressed to sexual intercourse, she said.

Theron said the girl narrated in detail what Mareko did to her, things girls her age would normally not know. Theron believes it is highly unlikely that she picked it up from a movie or read about it. She said it was possible that Mareko groomed the girl and made her promise not to tell anyone.

Theron also told court that the girl’s mother claimed that she knew only about Mareko inappropriately touching her daughter and had arranged for him to see a psychologist.

Theron added that the girl was greatly hurt when her mother supported the suspect but did nothing for the child’s wellbeing. She said the mother also made the victim speak to the suspect while he was in custody.

Theron said the mother also revealed that she was worried about her boyfriend, as he had threatened to commit suicide. She reached out to his friends asking them to check on him. In the process of helping her boyfriend she however failed to get her daughter examined.

Theron said the child also overheard her mother often speaking to the suspect and friends over the phone and blaming her for seducing the suspect. As a trained social worker with 25 years’ experience, Theron said there was no motive for the girl to lie, given the detailed account she gave of what happened.

“The mom did not act in the best interest of the child. She did not try to protect her child. She failed to protect the child. Instead of protecting the child, she afforded the suspect to go for therapy.”

The State, represented by senior prosecutor Rowan van Wyk objected to bail, maintaining that the suspect represents a flight risk and that granting bail would not be in the interests of the public or the administration of justice.