Pretoria - Child rape is prevalent in our society and is an evil that deserves the attention of our courts, three judges said in confirming the life sentence of a man who raped a two-year-old child.
The judges heard the appeal in the Pretoria High Court.
The man, who may not be named as he is the neighbour of the victim, was aggrieved by his life sentence. He felt he did not deserve this harsh punishment, as he was a first offender and had taken alcohol that day.
He appealed, following his sentence in the Benoni Regional Court.
The father of a six-year-old himself, he felt that his 2-year-old victim would soon forget her ordeal, while he had to remain behind bars, serving a life sentence.
The 26-year-old told the court that the magistrate should have conducted a thorough investigation into his circumstances, before meting out the ultimate punishment.
He said the court should have considered the fact that he paid maintenance towards his own child and that he had been awaiting trial while in jail for some time.
The magistrate who sentenced him said at the time “the rape of a 2-year-old was a heinous crime”. It was also pointed out that the rapist showed no remorse at all for what he had done.
The child’s mother saw the rapist with her child the day she was raped and a doctor found his DNA in the child.
He said he had no idea how his DNA had been found inside the child. The magistrate said at the time: “A person who admits his guilt and asks for forgiveness is a person that can be rehabilitated. I do not see that in you.”
Judges Vivian Tlhapi, Cynthia Pretorius and Bert Bam agreed that the aggravating factors by far overshadowed the mitigating factors.
They said the little victim could not have had any understanding of sexual intercourse, let alone the consequences of engaging in such an act with an adult person without protection.
The rapist was a friend of the victim’s parents and a neighbour.
He knew her and she trusted him. “An element of trust in the older person often exposes an unsuspecting child to sexual abuse,” the judge said.
They said it was neither in the interests of the child, nor the community, to impose a lesser sentence.