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Mon Nov 24 23:33:04 SAST 2014

On bail for rape, rapes again

AARTI NARSEE | 09 February, 2014 23:59
A Cape Town father rapes his two eldest daughters. He is arrested and released on bail, only to rape his youngest daughter and continue raping the other two. File photo
Image by: ANINDITO MUKHERJEE / REUTERS

A Cape Town father rapes his two eldest daughters. He is arrested and released on bail, only to rape his youngest daughter and continue raping the other two.

These shocking details emerged in a recent appeal judgment in the Cape Town High Court.

The sisters were raped in their home, often when their mother was working night shift. Sometimes the sexual assaults happened in the bed they shared with a sibling and at least once when the mother was sleeping in another room. The father, an electrician, often threatened to kill them if they told anyone.

The eldest daughter eventually confided in a friend and then a social worker, resulting in the father being charged with rape. By the time she turned 14, she had been raped three times. She did not tell her mother because the two did not have a good relationship.

He was arrested in January 2000 but was soon released on bail.

The second daughter was first raped when she was nine and again after the father was released on bail.

Until then, his youngest daughter had been spared the abuse but after his release on bail he raped the nine-year-old while she slept next to her six-year-old brother. By the time he was re-arrested, in August 2000, he had raped all three girls.

He accused his children of lying because he was a "strict father". But three courts believed the girls and he received two life sentences and 36 years in jail, to run concurrently.

On Tuesday the Cape Town High Court reduced his sentence by two years.

The judges noted: "It is a remarkable feature of this case that even after he was arrested for the rapes . he made himself guilty of sexually assaulting [his children]."

Jackie Branfield, of Operation Bobbi Bear, described the case as an "absolute outrage".

"Justice has failed. Why did he have access [to his children] when charged with raping them?"

"From investigations by the police, to postponements and delays at the court, it's shocking that, at every level, the system is failing the child," said Shaheda Omar, of the Teddy Bear Clinic.

Pretoria attorney Llewellyn Curlewis said that in serious offences, such as the rape of a minor, the accused had to show "exceptional circumstances" to get bail.

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