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Pretoria - The Pretoria Regional Court has sentenced a 55-year-old man from Nellmapius, eastern Mamelodi, to life imprisonment for raping a minor who was 12 at the time, and an additional five-year imprisonment for sexual assault on the same child.

The National Prosecuting Authority's Hurbetin Phindi Mjonondwane said the rapist, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the child, was hosting the minor and her family when the incident happened. 

"He lured the girl to a backroom shack whilst the gathering continued inside his RDP house, where he forced the minor to stroke his private parts and thereafter forced himself on her. 

"State prosecutor, Advocate Don Sithole, presented evidence of the complainant [the child], corroborated by hearsay evidence of her friend which was submitted in court as per the Law of Evidence Amendment Act 45 of 1988 as the friend had relocated to an unknown destination," said Mjonondwane.

She said despite the absence of DNA, the prosecution had presented the evidence of the complainant "in a logical and sequential fashion which was further corroborated by the viva voce [presented by word of mouth] evidence of the medical doctor," who examined the complainant. 

Mjonondwane said notwithstanding the fact that the girl's friend was now untraceable, Sithole successfully presented her hearsay evidence by means of the provisions of the Law of Evidence Amendment Act 45 of 1988. 

"In aggravation of sentence, Advocate Sithole presented the court with written heads of arguments wherein he submitted that the accused preyed on a young, defenceless and vulnerable child. He further submitted that in perpetrating the offences, the accused betrayed the trust relationship that existed between both his and the complainants’ families. He further argued that the accused's actions deprived the innocent complainant of her childhood and left her with permanent emotional scars," said Mjonondwane.

"In handing down judgement, Regional Magistrate Johanna Mthimunye, emphasised the need for justice to be seen to be done and for the sentence to reflect the seriousness of the offence and to serve as a deterrent."

The NPA commended law enforcement authorities for their collective efforts which have secured the successful prosecution.

African News Agency (ANA)