A prominent cross-border transporter based in Beitbridge has been slapped with a 36-year jail term for raping and impregnating his biological daughter.
In handing down the sentence Thursday, regional magistrate Innocent Bepura said a lenient sentence would trivialise rape cases and cause society to frown at the country's justice delivery system
He said it was aggravating that the man had authority and influence over his defenceless child he should have protected.
"The sentencing guideline allows up to 20 years for a count of rape. The seriousness of this offence is shown by that it even attracts a life sentence and the courts should look at that," Bepura said.
"Besides, rape causes emotional and physical harm. In this case, you were the parent of the child and these rape cases are dehumanising. The whole community is shocked by this obnoxious and despicable act," Bepura added.
"Rape takes away self-esteem from the victim. Rape of women and children is a disease courts must fight. It is also aggravating that you committed this offence for ritual purposes," he said.
For the first and third offences committed when the girl was in Grade 7 in 2020 and last year in November, the man was sentenced to 20 years on each count. For the indecent assault charge, he was sentenced to two years. The court established that between 2020 and 2023, the man who is a well-known cross-border transporter raped his child and impregnated her. He later bought medication to terminate the pregnancy and his wife administered the drugs. During trial, the man denied the charge and instead accused his daughter of framing him after he chased her away from home for being promiscuous.
But the court dismissed his defence saying the State had proved its case beyond doubt. Before handing down the sentence, Bepura admonished the defence led by Muchineripi Nhire for submitting 'unauthentic' documents in a bid to prove that the man was not responsible for his daughter's pregnancy.
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"Lawyers should know what is required in court. They should also come to court prepared and not seek to waste time," he said.
Wilbrought Muleya and Tsitsi Mutukwa prosecuted.