Man convicted of raping baby in his bed
A 62-year-old man has been convicted of raping a 15-month-old baby.
Madala Peter Tshemese appeared in the Bhisho High Court for judgment before Judge Belinda Hartle on Friday. Tshemese, who pleaded not guilty to the October 2018 rape, is not related to the young victim.
The baby was found in the same bed as the accused by his wife. Buttons on the baby's romper had been loosened and her diaper had blood on it.
No semen was found on the diaper.
A forensic nurse, Vuyokazi Magwaza, testified that the baby's hymen was broken. She said the infant had swelling and a fresh tear in her vagina.
Hartle said the question of whether the baby was penetrated rested on substantial evidence. She said the evidence showed inconsistency with the accused claiming innocence.
“As for the rape itself, I am satisfied with medical evidence that the baby was sexually penetrated,” said Hartle.
She said she was satisfied about the likelihood that there was no penal penetration, “especially because Magwaza agreed that such a scenario may have [caused] more damage to the baby's vagina, and that the tear may have presented itself differently had that been the case”.
“A likely scenario in my view is that penetration must have been with a finger.”
Hartle said that would also explain why the man's wife and daughter, who had the baby in sight when the offence was committed, did not observe anything untoward when the infant cried.
In mitigation of sentence, defence lawyer Hennie Erasmus called Tshemese to the stand.
Tshemese told the court he was not “feeling okay” about being convicted of rape.
He said he understood he had been convicted of a serious crime, but continued to maintain he was falsely implicated.
“I did not do it.”
Erasmus said the court should consider that his client had no previous convictions until he made a mistake that will “cost him dearly”.
The state prosecutor said the accused had deprived the baby of her innocence.
“He was in a position of trust as the father figure of the child. He took advantage of the little girl. She was unable to protect herself. This is a serious offence. It is clear the accused is not remorseful.”
The state called for a life sentence and for Tshemese to be registered on the list of sexual offenders.
Sentencing is reserved for September 2. Tshemese will remain out on bail until then.