Cape Town -
The taxi driver and his tout convicted of raping or robbing passengers seven years ago face about 150 years in jail if the minimum sentence attached to each charge is put into effect.
This was the submission by Tony Myburgh’s lawyer, Andre Kirsten, during closing arguments in the Cape Town Regional Court on Thursday.
“(But) it would be inhumane to impose anything that exceeds the life expectancy of Myburgh,” Kirsten said. “He is not a monster – he is a person who has had life experiences and hardships that made him the person he is today”.
If life imprisonment is imposed, Myburgh and his accomplice, taxi driver Peter Andrews, will have to serve 25 years before they are eligible for parole.
The two men have been in custody for seven years – longer than anyone else in the Western Cape in their situation.
Magistrate Lulumile Mdoda convicted Myburgh, 31, and Andrews, 33, of multiple counts of rape, aggravated robbery and indecent assault last November.
They were arrested on June 25, 2007 after robbing and raping passengers in a 12-day spree. Their last victim had taken down the taxi’s registration number and notified police.
The men had randomly targeted commuters who boarded their taxi between Bellville and Cape Town, and in some instances, drove off the specified routes to park at secluded areas including a cemetery, Goodwood Sports Ground and the shooting range at De Waal Drive.
Myburgh was convicted of four counts of rape, two of indecent assault, and four of aggravated robbery. Andrews was found guilty of two counts of rape, two attempted rapes and three armed robberies.
The men were acquitted of the remaining counts because in one instance the witnesses did not return to court for cross-examination, in another the witness did not want to testify and because there was doubt regarding the identity of the assailants.
Tashriq Ahmed, for Andrews, asked the court to impose a fair sentence.
Prosecutor Merle Engelbrecht argued that the men showed no remorse.
The men, who don’t have criminal records, expect to be sentenced on Friday.