News and Information

Judge arrested - Faces child sex charges
February 1, 2005


ONE of the most senior members of Namibia's judiciary, Supreme Court Judge of Appeal Pio Teek, has been arrested on a charge of rape involving a 10-year-old girl.

"I can confirm that at about 13h05 today the honourable Mr Justice Pio Teek was arrested by the Namibian Police," a Police spokesman, Chief Inspector Hieronymus Goraseb, told The Namibian yesterday.

With that, he confirmed something without precedent in Namibia's history: that a Judge, a custodian of the law, was being accused of one of the most serious crimes punishable under the country's laws.

In a move that sent shockwaves through legal circles, it emerged yesterday that the 57-year-old Judge of Appeal was facing accusations that he allegedly sexually molested a 10-year-old girl at his home, some 35 kilometres north of Windhoek, over the weekend.

He also faces charges of kidnapping, rape, attempted rape and supplying liquor to minors.

Judge Teek was yesterday reported to be under Police guard in a Windhoek hospital, where he was reportedly admitted under the care of a psychiatrist over the weekend.

Chief Justice Peter Shivute yesterday described the turn of events as "a most unfortunate situation" involving grave allegations.

"Obviously the law should take its course, no doubt about that," he told The Namibian yesterday afternoon.

He said the Judge in question was a citizen just like anyone else, and that he had his rights - but by the same token the complainants in the case also had their rights.

He explained that the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) was to meet later yesterday to decide what steps, if any, would be taken with regard to the Judge's position.

The Chief Justice emphasised that a perception should not be created that the Judge might be protected because of his office.

The Police had to be free to conduct their investigation of the matter without feeling constrained because of the office that the person at the centre of their investigation was holding, he explained.

Chief Justice Shivute noted that in terms of the Constitution the JSC would only be empowered to make a recommendation on the Judge's position, such as whether he should be removed or suspended from his office, to the President, with whom the decision lies whether to act or not.

The Constitution states that a Judge may only be removed from office on the grounds of mental incapacity or for gross misconduct.

The President may remove a Judge from office only on a recommendation from the JSC, the Constitution also states.

Elsewhere, the Constitution states that all people charged with an offence shall be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law.

While confirming that the Judge was arrested at about 13h05 yesterday, Chief Inspector Goraseb, Commanding Officer of the Namibian Police's Public Relations and Liaison Division, did not want to indicate whether it was correct that the Judge was under Police guard in hospital, as other sources had informed The Namibian.

Goraseb stated that the Judge was in Police custody and would appear in court within 48 hours if he was charged with the alleged crimes that he was being accused of.

The charges being investigated at this stage are one count of rape, one of attempted rape, two charges of kidnapping or abduction, and two charges of supplying liquor to minors, Goraseb said.

He said the investigation was launched after a report was made to the Police on Saturday.

According to this report, the Judge is accused of having picked up two girls, aged nine and 10 respectively, with his vehicle in the Single Quarters area of Katutura at between 21h00 and 22h00 on Friday.

He allegedly took them to a smallholding about 35 km north of Windhoek, where he allegedly gave them liquor to drink, fondled the one girl and, it is claimed, inserted a finger into the private parts of the other girl.

The two children allegedly slept over at the Judge's house, and it is claimed that he transported them back to Windhoek on Saturday morning.

A warrant for his arrest was issued on Saturday.

Judge of Appeal Teek has been an Appeal Judge in the Supreme Court since June 28 2003.

Before that, he had been the Judge President of the High Court since April 1999.

He was appointed as a High Court Judge in April 1992, when he became the first black Namibian to be appointed to the bench.


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