Court slashes 40-year rape sentence

BULAWAYO - The High Court here has slashed a 40-year jail term for an HIV-positive Gokwe man who raped and infected his 11-year-old niece with a sexually transmitted disease.

The 31-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the victim’s identity, raped his brother’s daughter on four different occasions in 2015.

He will now serve an effective 20 years.

He was convicted by Gokwe regional magistrate Amos Mbobo last year and sentenced to 40 years in jail after pleading not guilty to the four counts of rape.

The man appealed against the sentence at the High Court, arguing that the sentence was excessive and harsh.

Justice Martin Makonese, who was sitting with Justice Maxwell Takuva during the criminal appeals court, confirmed the man’s conviction.

He upheld the appeal on sentence.

Justice Makonese said the prison term was too harsh and inappropriate.

“The sentence must not be so harsh and excessive but must send the correct signal that sexual abuse, especially where the man is in loco parentis in relation to the complainant. In this matter, a sentence of 40 years is inappropriate and manifestly harsh.

“The convictions in respect of the four counts are hereby confirmed. The sentence of the court a quo is set aside and substituted with 20 years’ imprisonment,” ruled the judge.

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