18 years for raping mentally-ill sister

HARARE - A 22-YEAR-OLD married man has been sentenced to an effective 12 years in jail after he was convicted of raping his mentally challenged juvenile sister.

At the time of committing the offence in 2015, the man — who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim — was aged 19 and the girl was 11 years old.

Harare regional magistrate Themba Kuwanda sentenced him to 18 years and suspended six years of the sentence for five years on condition he does not commit any offence of a sexual nature within that period.

Kuwanda said what aggravated the matter is that the accused is the complainant’s half-brother. Instead of safeguarding the interests of his sister, he turned out to be the abuser himself.

Kuwanda said not only did he abuse his own sister but caused her to lose her most cherished virtue, her virginity.

“The complainant will find it difficult to come to terms with the sad reality that her own brother had carnal knowledge of her. The accused knew of the condition of his own sister and he took advantage of her. This tends to increase the moral blameworthiness considerably,” Kuwanda said.

 “The other aggravating factor is that they are within prohibited degrees of being intimate. The stepfather must have been agitated by the accused person’s accusation that he is the one who was having sex with his own daughter.” 

During trial, the brother alleged that his sister might have been abused by her father when their mother died in 2015.

It was the State case that sometime in 2015 when the girl was coming from school, the brother entered her bedroom. He gagged her with a towel, and raped her once. After the ordeal, he threatened to kill her if she revealed the matter to anyone.

On another occasion, the court heard that he raped the girl while their mother, who is now late, was washing clothes outside.

During the same day, he raped the girl when their mother had visited a neighbour’s house and threatened to kill her if she revealed the rape.

The matter came to light on June 8 this year when the complainant cried at school and a fellow pupil who witnessed the breakdown rushed to inform their teacher.

The court heard that she opened up to her teacher that her brother was sexually abusing her.

The teacher informed the girl’s step mother, who in turn reported the matter to the police.

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