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Double rapist gets 25

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“Both women were traumatised and are still suffering emotionally and psychologically. It is fortunate that none of the women were seriously injured.”

DOUBLE rape accused, Mervyn Smith, 28, covered his face when he was led back to the cells after he was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment in the Northern Cape High Court yesterday.

Smith pleaded guilty to raping two women in Club 2000 in Galeshewe, in 2015 and 2017 after he was linked to both crimes through DNA samples.

Acting Judge Venter yesterday also dismissed Smith’s application for leave to appeal against his sentence.

She disregarded the fact that he was currently serving another ten year sentence.

Venter stated that the accused played the role of the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing where he fooled one of his victims into believing that he would protect her from two other men who had tried to rape her.

“He acted like a good Samaritan to assist a damsel in distress on September 3 2017 (when he chased away the other two men). He even discussed the evils that prevailed in the community when he walked her home before he assaulted her, threatened her with a panga and dragged her into the bushes where he raped her.”

She added that he and two other attackers took turns raping another woman on July 25, 2015 at knife point where they forced her to undress.

“Both women were traumatised and are still suffering emotionally and psychologically. It is fortunate that none of the women were seriously injured.”

Venter indicated that while the accused was previously convicted for robbery in 2014 as well as rape, kidnapping and two counts of assault in 2018, the offences were committed in 2015.

“Strictly speaking, it cannot be regarded as previous convictions.”

She explained that she was therefore not sentencing the accused as a convicted rape offender.

“The accused is regarded as a first offender. Subsequent convictions will be relevant to remorse and prospects of rehabilitation.”

Venter added that the penalty clause was applicable, as one of the victims was raped more than once by more than one accomplice.

“The accused should therefore be sentenced to life imprisonment. His personal circumstances do not amount to compelling or substantial factors. Rape is the most horrendous invasion of a person’s privacy and dignity. We need to send out a clear message that women and children need to be protected from violent crimes of this nature.”

She pointed out that sentences should deter future criminals from committing similar crimes as well as to prevent the public from taking the law into their own hands.

“The accused had no other choice but to plead guilty after he was linked to the crimes by DNA evidence. At least the complainants were not subjected to the secondary trauma of having to testify in court. The lack of serious physical injuries inflicted during the rapes also do not amount to compelling or substantial circumstances.”

Venter stated that the accused had committed a serious offence, especially where aggravated circumstances were involved.

Smith was sentenced to an effective 25 years imprisonment, with Venter sentencing him to 15 years on the first count of rape and a further ten years for the second.

She also declared Smith unfit to possess a firearm.

Venter indicated that the complainants and their families would be advised if the accused would be considered eligible for parole.