RAPE SENTENCE FACTORS EFFECTING

S v TLADI AND OTHERS 2016 (1) SACR 424 (GP)

 

Rape — Sentence — Factors to be taken into account — Age of accused — Huge disparity in sentences meted out to young offender and co-offender only one year older than he — Disparity disturbingly inappropriate — Same sentence imposed on offenders on appeal.

The three appellants were convicted in a regional magistrates’ court of kidnapping and raping the complainant. They were each sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for the kidnapping. The first and third appellants were sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment for the rape, and the second appellant to five years’ imprisonment. The evidence indicated that the first appellant had attacked the complainant’s boyfriend in a tavern whilst the other two appellants offered assistance to the complainant to escape, only to lure her away from the tavern so that they could rape her. The second appellant had fashioned a condom out of a used crisp packet when he raped the complainant. She was raped six times in all. At the time of the offence the first appellant was 28 years of age; the second appellant was one month short of his 18th birthday; and the third appellant was 19 years old.

On petition the appellants were granted leave to appeal against their convictions and sentences but when the court requested reasons why the sentences should not be increased, they attempted to withdraw the appeal. The court did not accede to this request.

Held, that there was no justification for the vast difference in the sentence between the second and third appellants in respect of the conviction for rape and that this distinction was disturbingly inappropriate.

Held, further, that the sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment on the third appellant was equally suitable for the second appellant. The sentence was ordered not to run concurrently with that imposed for the kidnapping.

Held, further, that on account of the maturity of the first appellant; his attack on the complainant’s boyfriend; and that he had not desisted with the horrifying crime when the police arrived in the facility, but had taken the complainant to another house where he raped her again, an appropriate sentence was one of life imprisonment.

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