A woman whose ex-husband was found guilty of repeatedly raping her daughter — his stepchild — over five years pleaded for him not to be jailed because she needed his financial support.
The man was sentenced in the Roodepoort magistrate’s court on Monday.
“In mitigating for a lesser sentence, the accused called several witnesses, including his ex-wife [the complainant’s mother], who testified she does not wish for the accused to go to prison as that would only worsen her financial predicament,” said National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane.
“She said they met as a family at the psychologist’s office and discussed that the accused would make financial contributions towards the complainant’s university fees and discussed correctional supervision as a sentencing option.”
The court however, sentenced the 53-year-old man to 18 years behind bars. He was convicted of rape and sexual assault.
Mjonondwane said the accused was married to the complainant’s mother from 1992 to 2019. They divorced when the sexual assault allegations surfaced.
“The court heard the complainant was raped from 2010 to 2015 when she was seven to 12 years old. The stepfather started grooming her from that age, using the Bible as his yardstick and would make her promise not to tell anyone,” said Mjonondwane.
“This happened until his stepdaughter was old enough to understand her stepfather violated her. She informed her mother about her ordeal and a few months after attending psychosocial sessions, she reported the matter to the police.”
A victim impact statement by the girl was entered as evidence.
In it, she revealed it was the education received at school about relationships and intimacy that made her realise her stepfather had taken advantage of and abused his position of trust.
Prosecutor Danette van Schalkwyk told the court that while he admitted his crimes, the emotional scars he had left on his stepdaughter should not be downplayed.
Despite the plea not to jail the convicted rapist, magistrate Anneline Africa sentenced him to 18 years for rape and five years for sexual assault.
Africa said she took into consideration that he admitted to the crimes and was a first-time offender.
She said the court must apportion equal weight to the seriousness of the crime and the impact it had on the complainant.
The NPA welcomed the sentence and hailed the bravery of the victim.