The Bethlehem Reginal Court has sentenced the 35-year-old father to life imprisonment after the court found him guilty of raping his 14-year-old daughter. The father was charged with kidnapping and rape. The State’s case is derived from incidents that started in September 2021, when the accused began raping the victim in their home in the small town of Petrus Steyn in the Eastern Free State.

The state alleges that these rapes occurred numerous times but due to the victim being afraid of her father, she did not report the abuse to anyone. The abuse was reported to the police after an incident where the victim’s younger brother, confronted her about why she was sleeping with her father instead of him. This confrontation took place in the presence of their elder sister. The victim’s elder sister then asked the victim, why she was sleeping with the accused and the victim ended up telling her sister that the accused had raped her.

After his arrest, the accused made a statement to the police wherein he admitted to having sexual intercourse with the victim, more than once. During his trial, the accused denied making the statement and claimed that he was forced to make that statement. During the trial within trial, the Regional Court admitted the statement as an admission.

In aggravation of sentence, the Regional Court Prosecutor Vusimuzi Nhlapo, urged the court to consider the seriousness of the offence when sentencing the accused. The court must accept that the accused never showed any remorse and therefore should not deviate from the minimum sentence. The prosecutor further argued that the court should take into account the loss of the victim’s innocence in the hands of her father, who was supposed to have been the one protecting her and not abusing her. The court ought to consider the emotional trauma experienced by the victim at the hands of her father and the court should sentence the accused to life imprisonment.

In sentencing, the court rejected the accused’s version of events, and he was found guilty of rape of his minor daughter. The Regional Court sentenced the accused to life imprisonment on both counts of kidnapping and rape.

The National Prosecuting Authority applauds the work of the Prosecution Team in ensuring that this perpetrator of the heinous crime is sentenced to life imprisonment. The Prosecuting Authority envisages that this sentence will send a clear message to other would-be perpetrators of GBVF that they will be arrested, prosecuted, and sentenced to the maximum sentences applicable.

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