Pretoria - A man who raped his 6-year-old daughter thought 20 years too tough a sentence, so he appealed. Now he has a life sentence.
The man, who cannot be identified to protect the identity of the child, was convicted of raping the girl in June 2012 by a Sebokeng Regional Court.
Although the crime can carry a life sentence, the presiding magistrate found that the father could be rehabilitated and gave him 20 years.
The father appealed against his conviction and sentence, claiming he had been framed by his estranged wife.
This was despite the child testifying to her rape, and a doctor’s findings confirming she had been raped.
The magistrate had refused leave to appeal against the 20-year sentence, saying he was fortunate to have received such a lenient sentence as, in terms of the law, he could have received a life sentence.
He warned the man that a higher court could, on appeal, increase the sentence.
The father was adamant that he wanted to take his chances and appeal.
The court heard that the father lived in a room on the same property as his wife and children. His wife often stayed at her boyfriend’s home, leaving the children in the care of their father.
On the night of the incident, the girl child slept with her father in his bed. He ordered her to undress and raped her, before telling her to get dressed again and not tell anyone.
But an older sister saw that the child was walking in a strange way, and asked her what the matter was. She told her sister what had happened.
Acting Judge TAN Makhubele rejected the claim of a “plot” by the wife to incriminate her husband, and described the sentence as “shockingly lenient”.
He said the aggravating factors far outweighed the mitigating factors, especially as the man knew he was HIV-positive.