Man jailed for 20 years for raping disabled cousin
A man who raped his mentally disabled cousin after a traditional ceremony at his mother’s house claimed that he was so drunk he did not realise he was raping the 20-year-old.
Despite this, the man, 28, who is not being named to protect the identity of his cousin, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years in jail.
The man, from Joe Slovo township, entered a plea agreement with the state and pleading guilty to a charge of rape in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Tuesday.
In his plea, he claimed that on June 25 2016 he was expected to consume large amounts of alcohol “to be a man” and partake with the men during the cultural ceremony.
“I drank with my uncles and brothers. I do not usually drink this much,” the man said.
After the ceremony was postponed to the next day, he said, he continued drinking with his family until late that afternoon when his grandmother gave him money and asked him to buy more beer.
“Because of the state I was in I asked my sister to accompany me and she refused. [The cousin] instead tagged [along].
“I felt I was staggering along and do not recall reaching, entering or going past any of the taverns.
“I woke up later that evening, still inebriated, where I was lying in a puddle of mud just off the verge of a road at a spot which was some distance beyond the taverns. I realised I must have passed out.
“When I came to my [senses] I was with [the cousin], my jeans were open at the waist and I was busy having sexual intercourse with her.
“I did not desist but persevered copulating with her.
“When I came to my senses and persevered copulating with her I knew my actions were wrong and I could be found guilty of rape,” he said.
After the rape, the man, fearing repercussions from his family – his mother and his cousin’s mother are sisters – fled to Peddie and stayed with a brother.
“I left for Peddie because I knew I did wrong.
“All in the family, including myself, knew that [the victim] had to be protected against being taken advantage of and the family had insisted on this.
“I have no legal defence for my actions and I plead guilty to the count of rape,” he said.
He was arrested on December 20 2016 and had been in custody since.
While an awaiting-trial prisoner the man contracted multidrug resistant TB but according to his defence counsel, advocate Chris Nel SC, he has been receiving treatment and should soon fully recover.
The man, a father of a fouryear-old boy, was in court wearing a surgical mask and he wept quietly while speaking to family members after he was sentenced.
Judge Irma Schoeman accepted the man’s plea and the agreement entered into after he and Nel consulted with the state.
“I am satisfied with the agreement entered between the state and defence.
“The accused is therefore convicted of rape as per his plea and is sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment,” Schoeman said.
She ordered further that the man’s name be entered into the national sex offenders’ register and that he not be allowed to be employed at a school, or work with or near children.
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