Serial rapist 'first-time offender' says lawyer in mitigation of sentence
As serial rapist Joseph Rasempane Mahloma awaits his sentencing, he has managed to secure an acquittal on one of the 91 charges of which he was initially convicted.
But it was not because of a solid defence, rather a typographical error by the presiding judge.
Last year, Mahloma was found guilty at the high court in Johannesburg on 91 criminal charges, including dozens of counts of rape, assault and defeating the ends of justice, for his rape and robbery spree across Tembisa and Ivory Park.
In his judgment, Judge Leicester Adams spent three days going through each of Mahloma’s attacks, condemning him for terrorising these communities. But this morning the judge admitted he had accidentally convicted Mahloma on an extra charge of housebreaking.
While the main body of his judgment reflected there was not enough evidence relating to this charge, the judge admitted that in his final ruling he had made the erroneous conviction. He therefore dropped the charge, meaning Mahloma is guilty on 90 counts, including rape, kidnapping and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
During Mahloma’s crime spree, he would often break into residents’ homes, rob the occupants and rape the women and teenagers living there.
The court heard this week the harrowing victim impact statements of two of his victims, who said their relationships and lives were forever damaged by Mahloma’s attacks.
Mahloma's lawyer, Jacob Kgokane, on Thursday said in mitigation of sentence that Mahloma’s tragic upbringing was one of the factors the court should consider when determining sentence.
Kgokane said Mahloma’s mother had died when his client was just 17 or 18 and that he was forced to become the head of the household and support the family financially.
He argued that his client was a first-time offender, and that while the victims had psychological and emotional trauma, Mahloma had at least spared them from serious physical injury.
The trial continues.