Magistrate lashes out at lawyer for comments in case of serial rapist

2018-12-11 19:37
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A Roodepoort magistrate lashed out at a lawyer who represented a convicted rapist on Tuesday, after he argued in mitigation of his client's sentence that the impact of rape varied for victims of different ages.

Defence lawyer Phineas Mokoena was arguing in the sentencing proceedings of convicted serial rapist, taxi driver Lebogang Gift Mokoena.

"It is my submission that this rape was not the worst. This rape can't be regarded as the worst category of rape. There are no physical injuries suffered by the victim," Mokoena submitted. He suggested that a victim's age played a role.

But Magistrate Ruby Matthys was not impressed.

"This daunts on you Mokoena…These arguments by your lawyer will not hold any water. How can the victim's age be mitigating for sentence? People differ when it comes to this type of ordeal.

"How can one say that the impact of rape on an adult is more severe than that of a child? On top of that, it is raised during mitigation of sentence," Matthys charged.

More woes for the accused

The accused, 29, is currently serving 13 life sentences and 340 additional years in jail.

He was sentenced by Judge Cassim Moosa on November 22 in the South Gauteng High Court, sitting in Palm Ridge, Ekurhuleni for a reign of terror, involving several rapes committed over 13 months.

He is expected to be sentenced on Wednesday in the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court, for charges of kidnapping, rape and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

In the case in Roodepoort, Mokoena and his friends accosted a female passenger, aged 48, on March 19, 2017, while she was with her teenage son along Ontdekkers Road in Florida, west of Johannesburg.

READ: Taxi driver convicted on 43 charges of rape and kidnapping to be sentenced

At the time, he and his accomplices were driving a Toyota Quantum minibus taxi when the two passengers boarded it. Inside the taxi, he produced a cigarette lighter which resembled a firearm and pointed at the woman.

He then raped her in the presence of her son, inside the taxi, while it was in motion.

After raping the woman, the men robbed the victims of their belongings and demanded the PIN code to the woman's bank card before dropping them off.

The accused then spent more than R29 000 from the victim's bank account, by buying expensive alcohol and groceries.

Mitigation

Mokoena begged the court to impose a sentence other than life imprisonment, saying his client pleading guilty and did not waste the court's time.

"…. the complainant was not injured when she was raped. I am of the view that my client played open cards with the court, even though one would argue that the case was overwhelming against him, hence he pleaded guilty.

"This is a sign of a genuine remorse. He even informed the probation officer that he didn't want to waste anyone's time," said Mokoena.

State argument

Prosecutor Ronald Sithada argued that the victim had a fear of using public transport and being among crowds.

"She is distressed, together with her son. She is suffering from emotional moments which reminds her of the accused when she uses a public transport. She was robbed of two cellphones worth R8 000, a handbag worth R1 200 and R29 000 spent by the accused when they bought three bottles of expensive whiskey.

Sithada added that the victim and her son were inside the taxi at gunpoint while the accused's accomplice went on a shopping spree with her bank cards.

READ: Taxi serial rapist given 13 life sentences

He said the victim has forgiven the accused but demanded that justice prevail.

"I find it difficult that the accused has displayed remorse. He failed to take the stand and didn't tell us what motivated him to commit the offences. He doesn't tell us who those people he was with were. He cared less about the wellness of the victim, whether she was going to contract HIV or not. He raped her without using a condom.

"Rapes by taxi drivers have recently reached an alarming and shocking state. Taxis are used by vulnerable people and have now become a transport of choice. Instead of protecting passengers, taxi drivers now prey on them," Sithada submitted.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime  |  sexual abuse
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