A man convicted of raping a three-year-old child had his sentence reduced by the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Friday because he was not warned that he faced a life sentence.
At the time of the trial of Siyaboga Mbotho, 38, in the Port Shepstone Regional Court in 2002, the maximum sentence regional courts could impose was 15 years in jail.
Mbotho was convicted of rape in the regional court, and was referred to the Pietermaritzburg High Court for sentence. A sentence of life imprisonment was then imposed on him.
On appeal in the Pietermaritzburg High Court, Judge Rashid Vahed reduced the life sentence to 15 years in prison.
He said because Mbotho was not warned that he faced life in jail, it was unfair to impose such a sentence.
Although Mbotho was ill, the seriousness of his crime justified the maximum of 15 years. Two judges concurred with Vahed.