Mother protecting her baby's rapist gets life sentence
Publish date: 16 April 2018
Issue Number: 769
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
A mother who protected the man who raped her two-month-old daughter has been handed a potential precedent-setting life sentence, TimesLIVE reports. Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) acting Judge Carla van Veenendal said it was a unique situation that a mother protected a perpetrator of the most heinous of crimes against her own child, even if the mother faced being separated from her family for 25 years as a consequence. The 29-year-old Mozambican mother will seek leave to appeal both her conviction for abetting the rape of her daughter and defeating the ends of justice, as well as her life sentence, her lawyers said. The acting judge found that there were no substantial and compelling circumstances to justify a sentence of anything less than life. 'This case is unique in that only the person doing the aiding and abetting (of the baby's rape) is being prosecuted, while the real perpetrator is not before court with her.' The November 2016 rape of the baby was so severe that it was almost fatal, and the baby had to undergo reconstructive surgery to repair the damage. Seminal fluid found on the child could not be identified. The mother insisted the baby had not been raped, saying she had fallen off her bed and landed with her legs open on her mother's knee. 'The question in the instant matter is whether the accused in this case showed remorse or regret,' the acting judge said, adding that the mother had persisted in a version that kept on changing and being adapted upon cross-examination. 'As long as she refuses to take the court into her confidence, the court cannot find that there is true remorse indicated by a change of heart and an unburdening.'