Taariq Phillips and Sharisha Chauhan, 21.
Cape Town - The state says life imprisonment is a compulsory sentence for Taariq Phillips  unless the court is able to find the existence of “substantial and compelling” circumstances which justify the imposition of a lesser sentence.

Arguments in aggravation and mitigation of sentencing concluded this week in the Cape High court.

Phillips was found guilty on two counts of rape but was acquitted of murder.

In a surprise move this week, he took the stand to argue his own case in mitigation of sentencing.

Phillips and his then-girlfriend, Sharisha Chauhan, were part of a group of friends who attended a rave party at the La Bac Estate in Paarl on New Year’s Eve, 2013 when Chauhan became ill in the early hours of January 1, 2014. 

The deceased was taken to the couple’s tent and after the pair were alone for some time, Chauhan started having seizures.

She was transported to the Paarl Medi-Clinic where she died later on New Year’s Day.

State prosecutor, Esna Erasmus,  reminded the court that rape is a “repulsive” crime that is an “invasion of the most private and intimate zone of a woman and strikes at the core of her personhood and dignity”.

Defence advocate Burger Brandt argues that drugs played a role and that Phillips has no previous convictions.

Sentencing will take place on December 13. 

Weekend Argus