A 56-year-old Mabvuku man, Wilson Chingosho, will rue the day he laid his hands on his 13-year-old HIV-positive niece after he was slapped with an 18-year jail term for rape.
Chingosho raped the teenager, an orphan, who was adopted from Mashambanzou Care Unit, a hospice for Aids sufferers, in Harare by his sister.
In passing sentence, regional magistrate Sandra Mupindu said: Complainant is a 13-year-old orphan who is looked after by her foster mother. She is also HIV positive which makes her more vulnerable.
The complainant trusted you as an uncle, but you misused that trust and abused a child who is also an orphan.
Chingosho will, however, spend an effective 14 years behind bars after four years were suspended on condition of good behaviour.
The court heard that the victim became HIV positive after contracting the virus from her mother at birth.
Mupindu said the court needed to make a strong statement with a deterrent sentence as cases of abuse of vulnerable minors by relatives supposed to be caring for them were on the increase.
There will be real danger of trivialising the offence committed by accused and other sentencing options might cause erosion of public confidence in the judiciary, the magistrate said.
The assault occurred sometime last year after Chingosho went into the bedroom used by the teenager and her sister.
Chingosho found the 13-year-old sleeping and sexually molested her. He then threatened her with physical harm if she reported the rape to anyone.