Paul Pindani in CHINHOYI

A KADOMA bishop’s conviction and sentence for aggravated indecent assault has been overturned by the High Court.

Michael Duche had been sentenced to eight years by a Karoi magistrate.

The State said sometime in August 2021, Duche invited a young girl, who was watching TV from outside his window, into the house.

According to the State, when the girl wanted to leave in the evening, Duche allegedly dragged her into his bedroom where he undressed her.

It said he rubbed the girl’s private parts with his organ and then inserted a finger.

However, Duche said the charge was fabricated and he was innocent.

He said he was home with his wife and children at all material times.

He also stated that it could not have been possible to sexually abuse the girl as his house was just by the road side, facing a gym and a vegetable market, which are all frequented by people.

He said his tenant was also at home and it would have been impossible to sexually molest the girl without drawing attention.

High Court judge, Justice Philda Muzofa, said there were gaps and there was a need to exhaust all loop holes in the investigation.

She said the court was cognisant of the debates revolving around legal and medical penetration, as well as manhood and finger penetration.

“However, in a jurisdiction where there is no scientific evidence in rape or sexual offences, reliance is placed on the only independent expert evidence in the form of a medical affidavit. 

“It is unfortunate that it does not assist with the identity of the perpetrator, but it is of vital importance as to sexual violation on the victim’s body.

“The lack of forensic evidence makes the medical affidavit an essential evidential tool in the meantime.

“Accordingly, the accused is found not guilty and acquitted. 

“From the totality of evidence on record, the appellant gave a probable defence.

“The trial court’s decision is set aside,” said Justice Muzofa.

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