Monday 16 April 2018

Mother Of Raped Two Month Old Baby Gets Life Sentence In South Africa

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South Africa National Police Commissioner General, Khehla Sitole says he welcomes the Conviction and sentencing of a 29-year-old mother in connection with the rape of her two-month-old baby.

In November last year, a doctor at Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto informed the police in Meadowlands, Soweto, that a severely injured two-month-old baby had been admitted to the hospital.

Sergeant Enez Lekgoathi of the Orlando Family Violence Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS) was tasked with the investigation. 

During the initial interview, the Meadowlands mother claimed that the child had fallen from the bed. 

However, medical test results revealed that the baby had been raped. The mother was arrested and charged in terms of Section 55 of the Child Protection Act (aiding and abetting), child abuse and defeating the ends of justice. 

She was detained since November 2017 after being denied bail. One of the reasons for her bail being denied was that during interviews with her, her version of what had happened to the baby continually changed. 

The case was heard in the South Gauteng High Court since 6 November 2017.

The prosecutor in the matter, Senior State Advocate Alivera Du Plooy and Sergeant Lekgoathi worked together on the case and eventually achieved justice for the baby girl. 

The mother, who was convicted late last year, was Thursday sentenced to life imprisonment, despite the actual perpetrator not being identified yet. 

This, according to the police, set a precedent which will help prevent any person from shielding perpetrators of crime in future. 

Commissioner Sitole praised both Sergeant Lekgoathi and Advocate Du Plooy for their hard work and dedication in the matter. 

“Protecting the innocent and vulnerable is what we seek to ensure on a daily basis and both Sergeant Lekgoathi and Advocate Du Plooy have excelled in this regard,” said Commissioner Sitole. 

“This may be little justice for the two-month-old baby but the outcome of this case will surely serve to deter such criminality from taking place again,” Sitole said.

“This case is unique in that only the person doing the aiding‚ abetting (of the baby’s rape) is being prosecuted‚ while the real perpetrator is not before court with her‚” the acting judge said.

The November 2016 rape of the baby was so severe that it was almost fatal. The little one had to undergo reconstructive surgery to repair the damage to her tiny body.

But‚ while seminal fluid was found on the child‚ it could not be identified.

The baby’s mother‚ however‚ was adamant that she had not been raped – and had instead fallen off her bed and landed with her legs open on her mother’s knee.

“However‚ the accused still fails to explain how the injuries could be made inside the child‚ but not outside‚ despite the diaper and no other injuries or abrasions‚” Acting Judge van Veenendal said. “The question in the instant matter is whether the accused in this case showed remorse or regret.

“Although the accused was extremely tearful‚ sometimes sobbing loudly‚ and although she indicated that she may commit suicide‚ which may indicate a severe depression‚ she persisted in a version that kept on changing and being adapted upon cross-examination.

“On the objective evidence: a male person penetrated the private parts of the child‚ tearing her in the process.

“How this happened‚ only the accused knows. This leaves the court with the puzzling question of what pressure was put on the accused not to tell. And why.

“But the accused is not taking the court into her confidence. As long as she refuses to take the court into her confidence‚ the court cannot find that there is true remorse‚ indicated by a change of heart and an unburdening.”

The young Mozambican woman‚ who the court noted was in an “abusive marriage where she suffers emotional‚ psychological‚ economic and social abuse”‚ cried loudly after court adjourned. She turned to prosecutor Eliveera du Plooy and shouted “I’m praying for my God to bless you.”

It emerged during sentencing proceedings that her husband had not provided her with any real support while she was on trial and she had no one to visit her‚ or give her money in jail.

Her lawyers have indicated that she will seek leave to appeal both her conviction for abetting the rape of her daughter and defeating the ends of justice – as well as her life sentence.

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