Two accused Emmanuel Modise (27), who was 17 at the time of the commission of the offence and Ditebogo Tshegodikae (34), who was 24 years old at the time of the commission of the offence has been sentenced to 22 years of direct imprisonment after they were convicted on one count of the kidnapping of a minor and one count of rape by the Kuruman Regional Court. On 02 June 2013, the complainant, an 11-year-old girl, was sent to the local shop to buy some sugar and some other grocery essentials. Upon exiting the shop, the victim was called over by a young neighbourhood man, who she knew by his acquaintance to her aunt’s son. The victim was then taken to the toilet behind the shop, and the neighbourhood young man Emmanuel, and two of his friends then proceeded to rape the complainant. After that, the young men took her to a local soccer stadium, where one of them raped her once more. The complainant then ran home and informed her family about what happened and the following day a rape and kidnapping case was opened. The police promptly commenced with their investigations and the accused were arrested.

The trial commenced in April 2023, and the prosecution led by Regional Court Prosecutor Bernice Bronkhorst-Oor called three witnesses, which included the complainant, her sister, and the former co-accused to the accused before the court, who had already pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years of direct imprisonment, in respect of this case. Even though the State witnesses placed Modise and Tshegodikae on the scene, including their former co-accused, both denied their involvement in the offence, and both tried to establish an alibi for the night in question. During its argument on sentencing, the defence alleged that the accused should not be sentenced to the prescribed minimum sentence (life imprisonment), as the Accused were young when they committed the offence, and they were both first offenders at the time of committing this offence. The prosecution conceded that substantial and compelling circumstances existed, which permitted the court to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence. The prosecution, however, informed the court that the accused were now serial sexual offenders and required serious intervention to be rehabilitated and that the court should sentence both the accused to 20 years of direct imprisonment each.

The Court agreed that substantial and compelling circumstances did exist, allowing it to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence. The court among other factors regarded the late conclusion of the matter as a substantial and compelling circumstance. The Court stated further that the accused’s actions on the night in question were not that of youthful young men and further that the accused treated the complainant like an animal on the night question. The Court, before delivering the sentence, said that it would show mercy to the accused even though they did not show mercy to the complainant. The court sentenced both the accused to 7 years imprisonment each in respect of kidnapping of a minor, and they were sentenced to 22 years imprisonment each for rape. Both these sentences are to run concurrently. The accused were further declared unfit to possess a firearm (Section 103 of the Firearms Control Act). The accused were also declared unfit to work with children (Section 120 of the Children’s Act) and their names be added to the Register of Sexual Offences (Section 50 of the Sexual Offences Act).

Modise will now serve 34 years imprisonment as in February 2024, he was sentenced to 12 years of direct imprisonment for another sexual-related offence. Tshegodikae will serve 42 years imprisonment as in June 2020, he was found guilty of rape and sentenced to 20 years of direct imprisonment. The new sentences were not ordered to run concurrently with the sentences they are currently serving. The National Prosecuting Authority envisages that these sentences will provide some justice and closure to the victims and their families and remove violent criminals from our streets.

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