Rape appeal: youth’s jail term upheld

2010-04-07 00:00

A 17-YEAR-OLD youth who helped in the abduction and rape of a 14-year-old pupil in the New Hanover district in 2006 failed in an appeal against his conviction and 12-year jail sentence in the high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

The incident took place on May 24, 2006, at Cool Air in the midlands.

The rapist, Wiseman Mkhize (20), who was sentenced to life imprisonment in a separate trial, did not appeal.

Judges Esther Steyn and Trevor Gorven agreed with the regional court magistrate that even though the youth did not physically have sexual intercourse with the victim, he was guilty of rape for having assisted the rapist by dragging the victim to his taxi and for having caught and returned her to be raped after she managed to flee.

They were also in agreement with the sentence of 12 years’ imprisonment in the circumstances of the case.

In her testimony in the regional court in Pietermaritzburg, the victim said she knew both her assailants. The youth was also a pupil at the school she attended.

She said she was about to call her mother from a public phone when a minibus taxi pulled up and the youth called her. She refused to approach the taxi and the youth alighted and came to her.

He dragged her into the vehicle, put her in the front seat between him and the driver and the taxi drove off.

The taxi stopped at a road used as a short cut through the sugar cane. The youth alighted, but when she shifted her position inside the taxi, he dragged her back to the centre seat, flipped the seat backwards and tried to kiss her, she said.

“I refused. He was also smelling of liquor,” she said, according to the court record.

The victim alleged the youth tried to throttle her and pulled up her gymslip.

She managed to get out of the taxi and ran away, but he chased her and grabbed her and dragged her back. She pleaded with him to persuade his companion to let her go, but he said there was nothing he could do, she said.

He dragged her back to Mkhize, who put her back in the taxi, throttled her and hit her in the face with an open hand. She again tried to flee, but this time could not escape.

Mkhize raped her twice at a spot in tall grass. When she kicked at him, he “became upset” and hit her, she said.

Then Mkhize and the youth drove off and left her to walk home.

A couple saw her crying at the roadside and stopped to help. She reported the matter to the police and was medically examined.

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