An Eastern Cape man who was previously convicted for rape and sentenced to eight years behind bars has found justice on his side after the Eastern Cape High Court in Makhanda upheld an appeal and set aside both his conviction and sentence.
Osiphesona Ngcanga, 24 at the time of his conviction, spent two years in jail at St Albans Prison in Port Elizabeth. His future as a law student and an assistant lecturer at Nelson Mandela University (NMU) was brought to an abrupt end after he started serving his jail time.
Ngcanga, who is now a free man and back home in Mdantsane, was found guilty by the Port Elizabeth Regional Court for the rape of a drunk and unconscious 21-year-old commerce student at a birthday party in February 2017.
In a judgment handed down last month, Makhanda High Court judges Sunil Rugunanan and Buyiswa Majiki said that a telling aspect of witness evidence was inconsistency between the testimonies of the complainant’s friends, and what they had overheard that night.
A total of six witnesses testified at the trial and the pair were seen dancing together, laughing, flirting and kissing at a party attended by 17 people.
Overall, the High Court found witnesses to be unreliable, inconsistent, lucid and contradictory.
According to court papers, in earlier testimony the complainant said that she had no recollection of consenting to sexual intercourse with Ngcanga