Durban — The State has asked a court to ignore a corrections supervision report that a father convicted of raping his 13-year-old daughter for a year be handed a non-custodial sentence.
The Ntuzuma Magistrate’s Court heeded the State’s plea in aggravation of sentence, handing the man, 41, a life sentence. He won’t be named to protect the victim’s identity.
State prosecutor Jenisha Sewbaran asked that the court instead look at the gravity of the offence, indicating that there was a necessity to impose a heavy sentence to prevent young girls from being abused.
Sewbaran said in aggravation of sentence: “In the probation officer’s report, where the victim was interviewed, she says she grew up in an abusive household where the accused beat up her mom in front of the children and she pleads for justice. Both pre-sentencing reports point out that the accused showed no remorse.”
Sewbaran said it was apparent from the child’s victim Impact statement that she was still experiencing trauma.
“The emotional scars will live with her all her life. The accused took no responsibility for his actions. No exceptional and compelling circumstances exist for the court to deviate from the minimum prescribed sentence of life. The defence submitted that if the accused is sent to prison it will have an adverse effect on the complainant. I ask the court to disregard that as it is not probable and highly unlikely.”
She said the accused had been convicted of a serious offence where he had raped his biological daughter on a number of occasions in a year.
“The accused ought to have been protecting her but he showed no compassion, he disregarded his role as a father and abused her in a degrading manner. Our children have to be protected from people like the accused.
“The victim’s evidence was that he threatened to kill her if he told of what he was doing, she was fearful of her father …The court must not lose sight of the fact that he raped her over a period of time which makes one wonder: If he showed no remorse for his own child, what’s to stop him from doing it to a child that is not his own?” said Sewbaran.
The court heard how the girl was raped from March 2020 to March 2021 and only told of her ordeal when social workers came to her school and gave a talk on sexual abuse.
The accused’s lawyer, B Singh, argued that there were exceptional and compelling circumstances that permitted the court to deviate from imposing a life sentence.
He said these were outlined in the probation officer’s report to the effect that the accused’s parents separated when he was 13 years old, which had a psychological impact on the accused.
Singh said direct imprisonment would be a heavy burden on the victim, adding that the correction supervision report indicated the accused met the criteria for a non-custodial sentence.
“Should the accused not be sentenced to correctional supervision, it will be difficult for the victim to reach out or reconcile should she want to.”
In sentencing the man, magistrate L Lewis said the submission highlighted the accused’s lack of remorse as it ought to be him who seeks to reconcile.
“From the evidence led in court, it’s clear the accused wanted to portray himself as the victim.
“I find no exceptional and compelling circumstances to deviate from the minimum sentence.”
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