Pretoria - Rape is a serious offence constituting a humiliating, degrading and brutal invasion of the privacy and dignity of the person. Child rape is even worse and rapists should feel the full brunt of the law.
This was a warning from North Gauteng High Court Judge Billy Mothle, who turned down the appeal of a 60-year-old man who raped an 8-year-old child.
While the accused faced a life sentence, the lower court gave him a lifeline and only sentenced him to 15 years’ imprisonment.
The accused, identified only as Tshabalala to protect his victim, maintained that he was innocent. He also appealed against his sentence, which he deemed to be too harsh. While the courts are normally cautious in accepting the evidence of a child, both the lower and the high court accepted the version of the young victim, coupled with a medical report, above that of her rapist.
He was sentenced in the Brakpan Regional Court last September.
It was found that on May 12, 2012, he called the child to his home, which was next door to her parental home. He took her to his bedroom, where he raped her.
The child, who knew her rapist well as their parents often visited each other, said, when she left the bedroom, her attacker followed her. She managed to get away and told her mother about the incident and she was taken to hospital. The medical examination concluded that she had been sexually penetrated.
The rapist testified that he was not inside his home at the time, but that he was sitting outside, when another neighbour arrived at his home. He later said he went shopping with his wife that day.
He called his neighbour to collaborate his version, but the neighbour instead testified that she did see the child leaving the bedroom with the accused in tow.
Judge Mothle said the medical examination took place on the same day she was raped and the results linked the accused. He said it was thus not probable that she was raped by someone else, as he claimed.
The judge also pointed out that the man’s own witness testified against him.
Judge Mothle said the lower court, in sentencing the man, found that there were mitigating circumstances warranting a lesser sentence than the prescribed life sentence. These included that he was no longer a young man and that he had spent 14 months behind bars, awaiting trial.