Convicted rapist has his sentence changed … thrice

2015-08-13 09:44
After recent mass rape allegations Sudan says no rapes occurred in Darfur, but the UN wants further inquiry into the matter.

After recent mass rape allegations Sudan says no rapes occurred in Darfur, but the UN wants further inquiry into the matter. (Shutterstock)

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Pietermaritzburg - The sentence imposed on a man who raped a 9-year-old girl in 1999 changed for the third time on appeal in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg this week.

First Magadisa Nxumalo was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment (of which three years was suspended) by a regional court magistrate in Port Shepstone. This was after he pleaded guilty to the rape charge in June 2000.

It was then discovered that the case ought to have been referred to the high court for sentencing in terms of the minimum sentences act of 1997, which prescribes life imprisonment for rape of children (unless the court finds there are compelling and substantial circumstances justifying less).

Judge Gregory Kruger thereafter imposed life imprisonment on Nxumalo for the rape on August 26, 2004.

This week, however, a full bench of the KZN high court ruled in Nxumalo’s favour that it was unfair for him to have been sentenced to life imprisonment because the original charge sheet compiled by the prosecution did not make any reference to the minimum sentencing legislation. He therefore was not warned that he faced a possible life sentence before he was convicted.

The full bench reduced the sentence again to 20 years’ imprisonment (antedated to June, 2000). However, the appeal court commented that Nxumalo had only escaped the life sentence “due to lack of diligence and conscientiousness on the part of the prosecution”.

“Sexual offences are violent and ­invasive in their nature threatening the morality and socialisation of society. Such a crime committed against a trusting minor is an atrocity that has become prevalent in society. The sentence must therefore reflect the court’s discontent,” the judgment stated.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  child abuse

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