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Johannesburg - An 18-year-old school pupil was given a five-year suspended sentence by the Nelspruit Regional Court on Tuesday for trying to rape a five-year-old girl.
A Sapa correspondent reported that Mduduzi Lucky Mpila, 18, from Barberton in Mpumalanga, had been found guilty of attempted rape.
Mpila, a Grade 10 pupil, had pleaded not guilty.
He was arrested in 2011 when the girl's mother reported that her child had been sexually abused.
Magistrate Willie Wilkins sentenced Mpila to four years' imprisonment. The sentence was suspended for five years.
Passing sentence, Wilkins said Mpila was 16-years-old when he committed the crime and had a chance to change his life.
According to a social worker, the girl was not physically injured during the incident and was coping well at school despite the ordeal, Wilkins said.
Had the teenager succeeded in raping the girl, the sentence would have been life imprisonment.
“You had a very good relationship with the victim's parents until your criminal act on their daughter... which changed everything. They no longer have trust in you.”
The State had requested direct imprisonment, that Mpila's name be placed on the sex offenders' register, and that he be declared unfit to work with children and to possess a firearm.
“Your defence has argued against the State's request and said you are still very young and may need better employment in the future. If I agree with the State, doors will be closed for you as no employer would hire you,” said Wilkins.
He said he was giving Mpila a chance to change his life.
“You are still too young... I am giving you a chance to change your life for the better. I have decided to agree with your defence, but all will depend on your behaviour during your suspended sentence.” - Sapa