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Man sentenced to 18 years for raping 8-year-old sister

29 January 2016, 09:46 Eric Mashaba, News24 correspondent

Mbombela, South Africa - A Mpumalanga man accused of repeatedly raping his eight-year-old sister after their mother died has been sentenced to 18 years imprisonment.

The 26-year-old man from Pienaar near Mbombela, who may not be named to protect his sister's identity, was arrested on November 13 2012 after community members alerted police.

He pleaded not guilty.

During mitigation before sentencing in the Nelspruit Regional Court on Thursday, the accused first resisted entering court for the sentencing proceedings.

"No, I will not enter the dock. So people just get sentenced even though they are innocent. I only want to talk to my lawyer," he said.

The court had to adjourn for a few minutes until his Legal Aid lawyer, Nhlanhla Malumane, calmed him down.

The accused then agreed to enter the dock. He said he still maintained his innocence.

"I curse the day when I was born. I am accused of something I did not do just because I am an orphan. If I go to jail, my life will be at a standstill," he told the court.

Magistrate Vanessa Joubert said the victim was placed under the care of the accused after their mother died in 2012.

"You were her caregiver. But you took advantage of the situation to sexually abuse her after she was brought to stay with you. The victim was your biological sister. You repeatedly raped her and threatened to kill her if she told anyone," said Joubert.

The magistrate said the incidents happened in two separate locations, in Pienaar and in Nhlazatshe.

"The State had called four witnesses, including your younger brother who entered into a room and saw what was happening. After he alerted the community, they intervened and the police were notified of the situation.

"If the police and the community did not intervene, you would have continued with your sexual violations on the victim," she said.

Joubert said the accused continued to maintain his innocence and forced the victim to go through the trauma of coming to court to testify.

"The victim related all the incidences. She could not remember the exact dates and times, but she impressed the court.

"There was also evidence of a forensic nurse who examined the victim. The nurse testified she recorded injuries to her private parts, which were consistent with those caused by forced sex," she said.

Joubert said although he showed no remorse, the court deviated from the prescribed minimum sentence because of circumstances which led to delays in the trial.

During the trial, lawyers who represented the accused had fallen ill, as did an official who helped child victims testify in camera.

Recording equipment also broke down which resulted in the accused being kept in custody for three years while awaiting trial.

"You are sentenced to 18 years imprisonment and declared unfit to possess a firearm. You name has automatically been registered in the register for sex offenders," she said.

- News24


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