Teen asks court to quash granny rape conviction

HARARE - A teenager jailed for raping a 77-year-old woman has lodged an appeal in the Supreme Court contesting his conviction and sentence.

Tichafa Muhomba of Shamva, who committed the crime when he was 18, is currently serving 17 years in prison after being convicted by a Bindura magistrate.

He approached the High Court appealing against the conviction and sentence, but Judges Charles Hungwe and Susan Mavangira upheld the magistrate’s ruling.

“In our view we do not find any basis to criticise the learned trial magistrate’s reasoning accepting the complainant’s version and rejecting that given by the appellant and his witnesses,” the judges ruled.

“In our view the appeal against conviction has no merit. We did not find the submission that the sentence induced a sense of shock in all the circumstances of this case.”

Muhomba, who is represented by Jonas Dondo, has also appealed against the High Court judges’ decision and told the Supreme Court that the allegations were fabricated.

“The honourable judges of the High Court erred in dismissing the appeal against conviction and sentence,” Dondo said.

“The evidence was not sufficient to warrant a conviction.”

However, Judges Luke Malaba, Anne-Marie Gowora and Ben Hlatswayo, yesterday reserved judgment in the case.

During the hearing, Malaba said Muhomba had broken customary values of respect by raping a 77-year-old woman.

He queried how a 77-year-old woman would have fabricated a case against the teenager.

The court heard that the incident took place in September 2007, when the woman, whose name is withheld to protect her identity, was in her employer’s field when Muhomba approached her.

Muhomba went on to propose love to the 77-year-old woman, who turned him down.

According to court papers, Muhomba suddenly grabbed the woman and tripped her down before raping her.

After the rape, Muhomba threatened to kill the woman if she revealed the abuse to anyone.

The woman went home and told her son about the rape.

The son reported the matter to the police, leading to Muhomba’s arrest.

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