DURBAN: Two brothers hailing from Phoenix were handed down a harsh sentence of 10 years imprisonment with a 5 year suspension in the Verulam Magistrate’s court last week relating to offences of rape and indecent assault of their then nine-year-old cousin.
During court proceedings it emerged the offences which had begun in 1999 while the victim lived with the two and their family. The violation of the 9 year old girl occurred during weekdays while her parents were at work. The brothers were aged 13 and 16 respectively at the time of the crime.
The offences were purported as a “game” to coerce the child to participate after they returned home from school. The 2 brothers would initiate the ‘game’ by playing a pornographic video in their mother’s bedroom. The girl was instructed to lay on the bed and the 2 brothers would mimic the sexual acts from the porn movie with the complainant.
She was raped time and again by the brothers regularly and separately at least twice a week. The two brothers had threatened her with violence if she reported this to anyone and there were instances where the younger brother would physically abuse her. She told the court that she was petrified of them and never told her aunt.
In 2000, the girl had moved back permanently to her parents where the setbacks of the rape had led to depression and attempted suicide on two occasions, yet she kept the details of her abuse a secret.
While pursuing her tertiary studies, the victim had revealed the incident to her mother and her boyfriend at that time regarding the abuse that she had endured but forbade them to tell anyone, fearing that their close-knit family would split up.
However these details were revealed to her uncle in 2012 which led to him confronting the two brothers and “sjambokked” them. He also asked them to pay for the complainant to undergo counselling session. They initially agreed but their promise did not materialize and the complainant laid charges against them in 2013.
Regional court prosecutor, Ms Kaystree Ramsamujh led the evidence of the complainant’s mother, ex-boyfriend and uncle. While the complainant did mention the injuries she had sustained, there was no medical report as the incidents happened years ago. In her argument, Ms Ramsamujh asked the court to impose a sentence that would ‘hang over the accused’s head’, as they had taken advantage of the complainant when they should have protected and nurtured her.
The younger accused on the other hand denied the offences and called their mother and older brother to testify.
In the ‘victim-impact’ statement, the complainant mentioned that the abuse has left her with a psychological trauma and the incidents of rape has left here with suicidal intentions when she recalls the abuse. She told the court that all she wanted was for both accused to be held accountable for the abuse she suffered at their hands
The accused brothers version of events were rejected by the court. Since they were juveniles at the time, the court had sentenced them to 10 years imprisonment with a 5 year suspension. The court also ordered that both counts be taken as one for purposes of sentencing.
The Director of Public Prosecutions in KZN, Advocate Moipone Noko said that they were “pleased to have successfully prosecuted this matter, given the fact that the offences took place long ago. It is an indication that that no matter what crime a person commits, they cannot run away from the law.
Source Inputs: Rising Sun, Verulam Magistrates Court, Directorate of Public Prosection