The Supreme Court of Appeal has increased the sentence of a man who raped a child from 22 years to life imprisonment, finding that the high court could not use a finding that the crime was not one of the ‘worst rapes’ as a mitigating factor.
Child protection activist Luke Lamprecht from Women and Men Against Child Abuse welcomed the sentence.
“The whole idea of minimum sentencing was that some crimes should inevitably result in life imprisonment,” he said.
He added that it was clear that judges were averse to the idea of minimum sentences as it took away their discretion.
“This is a step in the right direction. Previously, judges wanted to see bodily harm. They were not considering the psychological consequences of rape. Now we have reached a level where psychological damage is considered the same as physical injuries,” he said.
“It would be great if we can reach a stage where the victim no longer has to prove aggregation but that the perpetrator will have to work at proving mitigation,” Lamprecht said.