Date set for doctor’s rape trial
News – National | 2018-10-24Page no: 6
by Werner Menges

Psychiatrist Pieter van der Westhuizen

Psychiatrist Pieter van der Westhuizen

THE trial of a Swakopmund-based psychiatrist who is accused of having drugged and raped a female patient almost three years ago is due to start in the Windhoek High Court in June next year.

Medical doctor Pieter van der Westhuizen (62) was informed of the dates when his trial would take place when he made another brief pre-trial appearance in the dock in the High Court in Windhoek yesterday.

His trial is due to start on 17 June 2019, with dates from then to 21 June and from 1 to 12 July reserved for the hearing of his case. Van der Westhuizen, who was arrested and charged in November 2016, is remaining free on bail of N$10 000 in the meantime.

He was granted bail with his first appearance in the Swakopmund Magistrate’s Court in November 2016.

Van der Westhuizen is charged with three counts of rape, a count of indecent assault, and a charge of attempted murder, alternatively using a drug to stupefy or overpower a woman to have unlawful intercourse with her. All of the charges are based on allegations that he sexually assaulted one of his female patients.

The state is alleging that Van der Westhuizen arranged with one of his female patients to visit his consulting rooms at Swakopmund on 7 November 2015. Van der Westhuizen allegedly also prescribed medication to the patient, and instructed her to take that on the morning before her consultation with him.

The patient allegedly had a panic attack after taking the prescribed tablets and was rushed to his consulting rooms, where she was given more medication, and was left with Van der Westhuizen.

The state is alleging that Van der Westhuizen gave the patient an overdose of the tranquillisers Valium and Ativan and the central nervous system stimulant Ritalin, and indecently assaulted and raped her while she was alone with him at his practice.

Van der Westhuizen has indicated in a document filed at the High Court that he would be denying guilt on all five of the charges, and would place all elements of the charges in dispute.