The traumatic effect that the incident has had on the mother of the child was further evidence of the seriousness of the offence.
A 24-YEAR-old man has been sentenced to five years imprisonment for having consensual intercourse with a minor. Tevin Motsebe and his twin brother, Kevin, were arrested and charged with raping two 12-year-old nieces in February last year.
The twins were arrested in June 2019 after the mother of one of the girls was informed that her daughter had been penetrated when she fell ill. According to the mother, she took her daughter to the Thuthuzela Clinic with a bladder infection and was told that the minor had been raped.
The child then opened up to the mother about the incident and said the same thing happened to her cousin.
The twins were facing five charges of rape and one charge of aiding and abetting rape. The Galeshewe Regional Court, however, acquitted Kevin on all the charges against him, finding that the State had failed to prove its case against him.
Magistrate Roland Birch, in his judgment, said that there were several discrepancies in the testimonies of the minor girls.
“The court is aware that it should handle the evidence of minors with caution. The two complainants rendered different testimonies on how they were taken to the back of shanty. They also differed on how the rape incidents had taken place. They further differed on who had a knife.
“Plus it was the testimony of one of the minors that accused one was not present at the time. The discrepancies raised certain doubts in the mind of the court,” he said.
Birch said that the discrepancies did not mean that the entire evidence presented was untrue.
“Accused two (Tevin) said he had intercourse with a girl who was older than 18. However, accused one (Kevin) said that he could see that the girl was still young and that it was wrong to have a relationship with such a young girl.
“Accused two said that the court should remember that his brother (accused one) was slow, yet he was the one who made the accurate observation. The fact that the accused saw that the girls were still in school and played with their brother was an indication to the court that they were aware of the girls’ youthfulness,” said Birch.
Tevin’s attorney, Advocate Willie Els, asked the court not to impose a harsh sentence on his client as he had not had the best upbringing to teach him rightful behaviour.
“The accused is a first offender. The accused and his twin brother have been in custody since June 2019. Both the brothers only attended school until Grade 8. It goes without saying that he is not very sophisticated. The twins were also, at the time of the incident, staying with an aunt as their parents had passed away.
“They did not receive a structured upbringing as one would expect. They had to stay with various family members for short periods of time after the passing of their parents,” Els said.
He added that the fact that the accused was employed from a young age was evident that he wanted a better future.
“The accused had been doing general work and had tried to improve himself economically,” he said. Els requested the court to not add the name of his client to the database of sexual offenders.
“If the name of the accused is added to the database of sexual offenders it will hamper his future employment prospects. No employer wants to hire someone who is listed on that database,” said Els.
Birch stated that the order to add the name to the database was automatic as the accused had been found guilty of a sexual act involving a minor. He stated that the personal circumstances and the period the accused spent in custody had counted in his favour.
“The court takes into account the fact that the accused had a challenging upbringing and has been in custody for 21 months. The accused was employed at the home of the complaint and thereafter distributed pamphlets in order to generate an income.”
He said the accused had, however, been accused of a serious crime. “The accused has been convicted of a sexual matter involving a minor child. Being convicted of a lesser serious sexual offence does not take away from the seriousness of the offence as it involves a minor.
“This incident could have resulted in pregnancy and a sexually transmitted disease. I could not find that the bladder infection was due to the penetration that occurred prior to the child telling the mother of the incident,” said Birch.
He added that the traumatic effect that the incident has had on the mother of the child was further evidence of the seriousness of the offence.
“It was the evidence of the mother that she burst into tears when she found out her child had been sexually violated. The child only told her after the incident. The mother’s reaction is how any parent would have felt. Sexual offences are rife in this country. Even recent media reports stated that women stand a higher chance of being raped than being able to find a job,” said Birch.
He sentenced the accused to five years imprisonment and to community work when released on parole.