Convicted rapist Nicholas Ninow. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency(ANA)
Convicted rapist Nicholas Ninow. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency(ANA)

Convicted Dros rapist Ninow's prospects to appeal sentence look bleak

By Zelda Venter Time of article published Mar 6, 2020

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Pretoria - Convicted Dros rapist Nicholas Ninow will on Tuesday know whether he will be able to appeal his rape conviction and subsequent life imprisonment sentence.

In the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria Judge Papi Mosopa has reserved his judgment on the issue of leave to appeal until then.

But prospects look bleak for Ninow, as the judge entered into a running debate with Ninow’s lawyer as to how the court erred in its findings. Defence lawyer Herman Alberts only took one point regarding Ninow’s conviction, which he had a problem with.

This was the fact that the judge found that the rape of the child was premeditated. He argued that the judge had misdirected himself in drawing the inference that Ninow sat at a table at the Dros Restaurant that day close to the children’s play area, in order to scout for a victim. 

Alberts said this conclusion is not justified as one looked at all the facts, as Ninow had moved around the restaurant and he did not stick to one table in order to prey on the children. Most of Alberts’ argument was based around the life sentence meted out to Ninow.

Defence lawyer Herman Alberts. Picture: Zelda Venter

He said the court should have found that there were mitigating factors which warrant a lesser sentence. In this regard he said one had to take into account that Ninow was a drug addict who was exposed to drugs from an early age.

But the judge in turn remarked that Ninow admitted during his trial that his usage of drugs that day was such that he could not be held criminally responsible for his actions. 

“I am not arguing that he must be excused, but another court may find long term imprisonment is more appropriate than life imprisonment,” Alberts said.

On another point he argued that the court should have taken into account that Ninow had remorse for his actions. He expressed this after his conviction in a letter handed to the court. But the judge questioned why Ninow did not from the start apologise to the victim’s family.

The State’s address to the court was short and mainly based on the argument that Ninow was correctly convicted and sentenced. The prosecution said it was clear that the rape was premedidated and that the usage of drugs in alcohol was not a mittigating factor in law. 

Ninow was meanwhile not at court, as his presence was not required for leave to appeal proceedings. 

His family was also absent, but members of the #NotInMyName organisation attended the proceedings.

Picture: Zelda Venter

They commented that while its Ninow’s right to launch these proceedings, it was a waste of money. Ninow was sentenced in October last year after he had pleaded guilty to rape. 

Handing down the sentence, Judge Mosopa said he took into account the fact that Ninow was a young adult, and has an infant child, but he said that Ninow had failed to prove that he was genuinely remorseful. Mosopa said that a happy family outing became a nightmare for the victim and her family after the little girl was raped.

This, he said, has had far-reaching implications for the entire family. 

The judge said that Ninow’s introduction to hard drugs at the age of 13 by his mother was the start of the young man’s spiral into addiction and that he ended up as a broken man.

Ninow was sentenced to life in prison a month after he was found guilty of rape, possession of drugs and defeating the ends of justice in connection with the rape of a then 7-year-old girl in the female toilets at the Dros restaurant in Silverton, Pretoria.

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