Child victims paint a chilling picture of accused.
TWO young rape victims were asked to paint pictures, illustrating the impact the crime, committed by a man described as “caring, quiet and humble”, had on their lives.
The pictures, painted by the 10-year-old boy and his eight-year-old sister, were handed in during proceedings at the Kimberley Regional Court yesterday when a 31-year-old man was sentenced to a total of 35 years imprisonment for the rape of the siblings.
The incident occurred in a shanty in Transit Camp in October 2015. The accused, Martin Israel, was earlier convicted of raping the boy anally and the sister vaginally and anally.
He was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for the rape of the boy, 20 years for the rape of the girl and another 20 years for the anal rape of the girl. The two rape sentences will run concurrently.
The court heard that the children had painted pictures, illustrating how the incident had affected them.
The State, represented by Advocate Khathutshelo Manenzhe, said the children’s painting had showed that their lives had changed drastically after the incident.
“According to the social worker’s impact report, the children did not experience any nightmares or bed-wetting.
“These are, however, not the only factors that indicate the effects of such a crime. The two victims drew pictures, showing how they saw themselves before the incident and afterwards.
“The boy’s picture showed him playing soccer with his friends prior to the incident. In the after picture, he drew himself standing alone and crying.
“The girl’s painting also showed her playing with friends before the incident. In her after picture, she was only playing with girls and there were no boys in the picture,” she said.
Manenzhe said the accused, who was a well-known neighbour to the children, had betrayed the trust of the little ones.
“The children said they knew the accused from the farm where they had lived before they moved to Transit Camp. The accused lived next door. He knew their parents and he misused the trust the children and the parents had placed in him,” she said.
She said the accused had also put the health of the children at risk. “The accused exposed the children to sexually transmitted diseases at a very young age. That is an aggravating factor that the court should consider in not deviating from the prescribed minimum life-sentence for the offence,” she said.
The legal representative of the accused, Leon Joubert, requested that the court take the personal circumstances of Israel into consideration, as well as the period that he had been in custody while awaiting trial.
“The accused has been in custody for two years and four months awaiting trial. He was schooled up to grade four. He is unemployed and lived with his aunt,” Joubert said.
He asked the court to show Israel mercy and consider that he could be rehabilitated.
“The social worker’s report shows that the accused is not a violent person. He can control his emotions when provoked, while his aunt has also described him as a person who is caring, quiet and humble,” he said.
Magistrate Memory Qomoyi said Israel’s age, the fact that he has no previous convictions, the time he spent in custody, as well his nature, pointed to mitigating factors that would allow the court to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence.
Qomoyi added that although the pre-sentencing report stated that the accused was quiet, caring and humble, he had been convicted of a serious offence.
“As you stand in court, you do look quiet. However they say ‘Stille waters diepe grond, onder draai die duiwel rond’,” she said.
She said the fact that the accused was known to the family was an aggravating factor.
“You were a family friend. The injuries the children incurred are also aggravating factors. The J88 report showed that the first complainant suffered tears in the anus. The surrounding area of the anus was painful to touch.
“The second complainant suffered vaginal tears. There was also an anal tear which was painful to touch. She also had a small opening in her hymen,” she said.
Qomoyi said the victim impact report showed that the children had been traumatised by the incident.
“Both complainants said they cannot sleep at night following the incident. The girl said she cries a lot and does not sleep as she keeps thinking about the incident. These children will have to live with the psychological scars of this incident for the rest of their lives,” she said.
She added that she hoped the sentence would curb the accused from committing similar crimes in the future.
“There are various annual events organised which calls for the stop of such crimes. Money and resources are used to alert communities about the results of violence against women and children, yet this court sees such incidents on a daily basis. A message must be sent to by the court to others who are like-minded that the courts will protect the dignity of people and it will show no mercy to those who commit such crimes,” Qomoyi said.