Brenda Zinyuke, Court Reporter
A 20-YEAR-OLD man from Fort Rixon has been sentenced to seven years in prison for raping his nine-year-old neighbour.
The man, whose name has been withheld to protect the identity of the minor, raped the girl during the night in a bushy area after chasing her for a distance of about 20 meters as she tried to escape from him.
He pleaded not guilty to a rape charge when he appeared before Bulawayo regional magistrate, Mr Joseph Mabeza.
However, the magistrate convicted and sentenced him to an effective five years in prison, after suspending two years for five years on condition that the man does not commit a similar offence within that period.
In passing sentence, Mr Mabeza said the man was still young and needed an opportunity to change into a better person.
“In passing sentence, I acknowledge that you are still a young man and given an opportunity you are most likely to change into a better person. However, a custodial sentence is necessary for this offence because justice has to be served,” Mr Mabeza said.
Prosecuting, Ms Caroline Matanga said on February 9 this year at around 9PM the girl was sleeping in a bedroom hut with her elder brother whose age was not established when the man entered the room smoking a cigarette.
“The complainant woke up to the smell of cigarette in the room only to find the man naked.
The girl woke her brother up as they tried to figure out what the man wanted in the room,” Ms Matanga said.
She said the girl’s brother quickly ran out of the room as he tried to call out for help.
Ms Matanga said the girl also tried running away but the accused person caught up with her.
“The man carried the girl on his shoulders and took her to a bushy area near a river where he forcibly had unprotected sexual intercourse with her. While still in action, the man heard voices of people approaching the river and commanded the young girl to go back home and threatened to kill her if she told anyone about the sexual encounter,” she said.
The prosecutor said the accused person’s father approached the girl as she was on her way home and asked her what she was doing alone at night.
The juvenile told him that his son had raped and threatened to kill her if she told anyone about the sexual escapade.
Ms Matanga said the father told the girl’s grandmother about the rape incident and the two reported the matter to the police leading to the accused person’s arrest.