A HIGH Court judge says the courts have a responsibility in their sentencing practice to protect children in our societies from predators.
Justice Stephen Pallaras uttered this when he sent a Gela man in his early 20’s to seven years behind bars after he admitted raping a 14-year-old girl last year.
“The courts have a responsibility in their sentencing practice to reflect the need to protect the children in our society from predators and other criminals who attack the weakest and most defend less members of our community,” Justice Pallaras said.
Both parties had agreed that an appropriate starting point for a rape with aggravating features should be imprisonment for eight years but Justice Pallaras however said 10 years is the appropriate starting point.
“In my judgment, an appropriate sentence for a rape with these features of aggravation would be 10 years imprisonment.”
Justice Pallaras took into account accused’s last minute guilty plea that came on the first day of his trial, though it was late, he said it did save the complainant from having to testify in court and from
reliving the experience.
The incident occurred on January 28, last year at 3.30am at a village in Gela, Central Province during a fund raising dance held at a private house.
The accused met the victim and her friend along the way to his house and raped her after her friend left them.
Earlier on, the accused has sent a message to the victim through her friend asking her to see him.
The victim and her friend then walked to the accused’s home and met him on their way, where he told the victim’s friend to leave them.
It was after the victim’s friend left, that the accused grabbed the victim and forced her to the ground.
The victim struggled and cried out when the accused touched her private body parts.
After telling her not to cry out or struggled and threatened to kill her if she continued, he raped her.
The victim ran off while the accused was dressing himself up after the rape and went back to the dance where she reported what the prisoner had done.
She also reported the matter to her parents.
Justice Pallaras was provided with a Victim Impact Statement in which he said revealed the trauma that the victim felt during the rape.
He said the victim described the emotional impact of the crime upon her as “enormous”.
“Her relationship with males is now characterised by fear and distrust.
“Unfortunately, even her family have been devoid of sympathy and charity for her and stupidly blame the victim for being a rape victim.”
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN