Tuesday, 30 January 2018

PAEDOPHILES MUST BE CASTRATED : JUDGE

A HIGH Court judge yesterday renewed calls for the enactment of a law that approves castration as punishment for paedophiles.

Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Francis Bere made the remarks as he dismissed an appeal against sentence by Sikunda Dube (57) of Plumtree.

Dube is serving 20 years in jail for raping and impregnating his neighbour’s 16-year-old daughter.
Justice Bere, sitting with Justice Martin Makonese during a criminal appeals court condemned men who abuse young girls to quench their sexual appetites, saying perpetrators deserve to be castrated.

The judge’s castration call comes two years after he said wealthy rapists should be forced to part with some of their assets and money which should go towards paying medical bills and rehabilitation of victims in addition to stiff jail terms.

“You may have destroyed the victim’s future by raping and impregnating her resulting in her being a mother at a tender age.  The victim is now facing a burden of single handedly raising the baby. Paedophiles that go around sexually abusing minors should be castrated as some form of punishment, which is what legislators are calling for. The court will therefore not interfere with the sentencing of the court a quo. Accordingly, the appeal against sentence is dismissed,” ruled Justice Bere.
Dube, who was a self-actor, filed an appeal before Justice Bere challenging his sentence citing the State as the respondent.
Dube of Tshibako village under Chief Bango area was in 2015 convicted of rape by Bulawayo regional magistrate Mrs Sibongile Marondedze and sentenced to 20 years in jail of which two years were conditionally suspended for five years.

In his grounds of appeal, Dube argued that the sentence was too harsh and induced a sense of shock.
“The sentence is too harsh and needs to be reviewed. I am a family man who is also a widower and  a sole breadwinner looking after my five children. May justice be tempered with mercy and I pray that the appeal against sentence succeeds,” said Dube.

The State through Mr Whisper Mabaudhi opposed the appeal, arguing that the magistrate did not misdirect herself when she exercised her sentencing discretion.

“Appellant was a neighbour to the victim and they had an age difference of 32 years. To compound his blameworthiness, the victim suffered from mental illness and as a result of the rape, the girl became a mother at a tender age,” he said.

Mr Mabaudhi said aggravating circumstances outweighed mitigatory factors.
The court heard that sometime in July 2013 at around 6PM, the complainant was herding goats near Dube’s homestead when the accused approached her from behind and grabbed her.

Dube then forced the girl to lie on the ground before he removed her clothes and raped her.
He threatened to assault the victim if she reported the matter to anyone before freeing her.
The victim did not reveal her ordeal to anyone and the matter came to light when she started developing pregnancy symptoms.

On being quizzed by her uncle and mother she disclosed the rape. A report was made to the police leading to Dube’s arrest.

In 2015 Senators, in their quest to end child marriages, demanded that Government enacts laws that approve castration as punishment for anyone who sleeps with a child below the age of 18.
They also insisted that parents or guardians who accept lobola from men who marry under-age children should face prosecution together with the culprits. Chronicle

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