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Youth guilty of tool shed rape

Leungo Mokgwathi
TEARY EYED: Tawana faces a length stay behind bars

Four years after he forced himself on a seven-year-old girl in his garden shed, a 23-year-old-man has been convicted of rape.

Weeping hysterically as Extension II Magistrates Court reached its guilty verdict on Wednesday morning, Omphile Tawana faces a lengthy stretch in the slammer for what he initially called a ‘moment of madness’ but later insisted never happened at all.

Tawana’s troubles date back to 30 December 2019, when the complainant and her younger brother went round to his homestead for a playdate.

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Later in the day, the other children went to the store, at which point Tawana, aged just 19 at the time, reportedly locked himself in a tool shed with the little girl, pinned her against the dirty floor and raped her.

The child, who was doing Standard Two at the time, only reported the ordeal to her aunt when she got home later that day.

In total, seven state witnesses gave evidence, including a Medical Doctor who stated that while the victim had no obvious external injuries and there was no DNA evidence to support her claims, she did have bruises on her vaginal area, a missing hymen and experienced pain during the examination.

According to the doctor, the bruises could only be caused by male genitalia, and nothing else.

The Investigating Officer revealed in court that when questioned at the Police Station, the accused initially denied having committed the offence, but changed his statement when asked for the second time.

According to the IO, he admitted to raping the young girl and apologised, saying he had no idea what came over him.

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At his arraignment on 31 January 2020, Tawana originally pleaded guilty, before later changing his plea and protesting his innocence.

The accused never cross-examined any of the witnesses when given the opportunity in court, but in his sworn testimony, he denied the accusations, stating he was under duress when he made the confession.

Tawana maintained that he found the accused playing in the tool shed, on top of some stored equipment, and when he told her to come down, she fell on her back, started crying and went home.

In reaching her guilty verdict, Senior Magistrate, Kamogelo Mmesi, noted that although the complainant was aged ten years old at the time of giving evidence, she proved to be a credible witness, certain of what had happened to her.

Following his conviction, Tawana was remanded in custody, where he will remain until 22 February (and likely a good while afterwards), when he returns to court for presentation of previous convictions, mitigation and sentencing.

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