Rapist’s life term confirmed

2010-02-10 00:00

THREE Pietermaritzburg high court judges of appeal have confirmed the conviction and life sentence imposed on 44-year-old Bhoyi James Plaatjes of Plessislaer for the rape of an 11-year-old child in 2001.

At the time of the rape, Plaatjes was 36. He has since been diagnosed with HIV.

Judge Pete Koen, with Judge Esther Steyn and Acting Judge Luthuli concurring, said in a reserved judgment that Plaatjes posed a danger to society as he already has a previous conviction for rape in 1999 for which he was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment.

“It was shortly after his release that he committed a similar offence and he clearly has not learned from his previous mistakes,” said Koen.

Plaatjes was convicted by Pietermaritzburg regional magistrate Chris van Vuuren of raping the 11-year-old girl “on diverse occasions in 2001”. The high court sentenced him to life imprisonment.

The victim — who was17 when she testified in 2007 — was related to Plaatjes’s former girlfriend.

She testified that he raped her twice, and that she was initially afraid to tell her family, fearing she would be beaten.

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