Sunday, August 3, 2008

There is Justice Somewhere in the World...


I've always wanted to go to South Africa.....

The Grahamstown High Court sentenced a man who raped a seven-year-old girl last year to life in prison on Friday.

Judge Bonisile Sandi told Nonkwenke Sothuko 55, of Klipfontein farm, Jamestown, that he could find no substantial or compelling circumstances that would allow him to deviate from the prescribed life sentence.

"A life sentence would be both a just sentence and an appropriate one in this matter," said Sandi.
Sothuko had earlier pleaded guilty raping the girl on a neighbouring farm on July 12, 2007.

In his plea explanation he claimed he "was overcome by his sexual urges, grabbed the girl, threw her onto the ground next to a fowl run and raped her.

"I am extremely remorseful for my actions and I don't know what came over me. I have never before transgressed the law," he said.

But Sandi said the case had extremely aggravating features.

"She was only seven years old and the accused was known to her as 'Oupa' and she trusted him. Her injuries were serious and the evidence of the clinical psychologist is the girl has been severely damaged by the rape incident.

"State advocate Thembela Jikela has said he (the accused) had no option but to plead guilty, because members of the community saw him on top of the girl and pulled him off her."

Isi-Xhosa-speaking clinical psychologist Karen Andrews earlier told the court the girl "had developed an overwhelming fear of all men and ran away in terror whenever one approached her".

"The girl now suffers from enuresis (bedwetting) and has been further confused by the beating she was given by a woman after she had been raped.

"She displays symptoms of hyperarousal, intrusion and constriction (powerlessness), as a result of the psychological and emotional trauma of being raped.

"These are highly consistent with symptoms typically found in children who are traumatised as a consequence of sexual assault. [S]he is likely to experience the long-term symptoms of constriction which will have a pervasive and negative life-changing impact on her," said Andrews.

Sothuko's Legal Aid Board-appointed lawyer Alan de Jager said he would appeal the sentence on the grounds that it was "harsh and unjust" and the accused could be rehabilitated. - Sapa