Taxi driver serial rapist deserves 'harshest sentence', defence argues

2018-11-09 18:57
High Court. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

High Court. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

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The lawyer representing serial rapist taxi driver Lebogang Gift Mokoena told the South Gauteng High Court, sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court, that his client deserved the "harshest sentence".

Defence lawyer Sabelo Nobangule was presenting his argument in mitigation of Mokoena's sentence on Friday when he made the submission.

"The accused has no justification [for] what he has done. This is a court of law and a court of justice. It is not for me to submit that there are no compelling and substantial circumstances that will force the court to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence," he said.

"Because he has pleaded guilty to all the offences, which is very rare. He took the stand and apologised to survivors for his wrongdoings. He can't even start to appreciate the harm he has done, not only directly to victims, but [the] secondary crimes too. My view is that he deserves [the] harshest sentence, which is not excessive," he added.

READ: 'Guilty, not guilty, guilty' - 'confused' rape accused disrupts court

Mokoena was found guilty on October 15 of 13 counts of rape, nine of kidnapping, nine of robbery with aggravating circumstances, nine of pointing an object that resembles a firearm, two of aiding and abetting someone to commit an offence and one of sexual assault. He pleaded guilty to the charges on October 12.

Nobangule told the court the fact that Mokoena had committed the offences did not make him less human.

"Do we really understand why people become serial rapists? There is no definite answer. I ask the court to order the accused to undergo strict counselling, so we can understand why people like him commit such heinous crimes. The accused must be evaluated in prison psychologically. How do we address something that we don't understand?" Nobangule asked.

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

Judge Cassim Moosa reminded Nobangule that the crimes Mokoena had been convicted of were heinous and that he had been honest when he took the stand on Monday and admitted that he raped his eight victims without a condom.

Moosa also warned Mokoena about his conduct, especially the scourge of sexually transmitted diseases in the country.

"He fully knew that there is a scourge of sexually transmitted diseases," Moosa pointed out

Lengthy jail term

Prosecutor Rolene Bester called for a lengthy jail term.

"The accused is convicted of serious crimes and the society has interest in the case. They are calling for rapists to be properly punished. He is convicted of violent crimes perpetrated on innocent and vulnerable women who were walking alone, and he testified so.

"These crimes were properly planned and executed. He was armed with an object resembling a firearm. Victims were going about their normal lives when they were attacked. Their trauma didn't end there, they are now forced to use public transport. I can't imagine their trauma and fear when they have to use public transport," said Bester.

READ: Taxi driver rape case: Serial rapist still not sentenced after charge sheet disappears

She added that the victims would endure the trauma for their rest of their lives.

"Society is seeking the longest sentences, which is life imprisonment, against rapists. Mokoena pleaded guilty because he was linked through DNA evidence and was also pointed out by victims. He has saved victims more trauma by coming to testify in court. But this should not be considered."

"He is the one who raped the victims. He is the one who was taking the lead and can't claim that he was influenced by bad friends. He has no prospects of rehabilitation. The court must consider the totality of the evidence and aggravating factors that outweigh any form of mitigation. The families of the victims are also suffering. It is not a quest that the minimum sentence be imposed [for] all charges," she said.

The sentencing was postponed to November 22.

Days later, on November 27, Mokoena is also expected to be sentenced in the Roodepoort Magistrate's Court for kidnapping, rape and two counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances.

The case in Roodepoort relates to the rape of a women in the presence of her son.

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