A 48-year-old Namibian man convicted of raping two of his daughters was sentenced in the Mariental Regional Court to an effective 20 years’ imprisonment.
The man handed the sentence on Friday was convicted two weeks ago after a lengthy trial that started in August 2020. He was arrested in October 2014 on three counts of rape, but was acquitted on one count.
The father’s name is being withheld to protect the identities of his daughters.
The man was charged under the Combating of Rape Act of 2000 and the Combating of Domestic Violence Act of 2004.
He was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment on each of the two charges of rape on which he was found guilty, but 10 years of one sentence will run concurrently with the other, which means faces a period of 20 years in jail.
The mother of the two victims, whose identity is also being withheld, testified that the accused is their biological father.
She described the relationship between the accused and the victims as loving before the incident and said the accused loved one of the victims more than his six other children.
She told the court the academic performance of both victims deteriorated at school after they were raped and that one dropped out of school and became pregnant while in Grade 10.
“The other one I had to take out of the school and move her to another school in a different part of the country as the children at the school used to tease the her by saying she slept with her father,” the mother testified.
She said the incident hurt her a lot as she did not believe their father was capable of such an act.
“My daughters have not forgiven him, as they do not want to hear about him. I have forgiven him, but I cannot forget what he did, and I want him to go to jail,” the mother said.
During court proceedings magistrate Frans Anderson said the two victims were both below the age of 13 years at the time of the rapes.
Anderson said the court did not find any substantial and compelling circumstances that would justify the imposition of a lower sentence than the prescribed sentence of not less than fifteen years’ imprisonment on each of the two counts.
“The fact that the accused is a first offender, and has spent eight years and 10 months in pretrial incarceration as well as the medical condition of the accused balanced against all the aggravating circumstances in the case do not amount to substantial and compelling circumstances,” Anderson said.
“It is important to state that the interest of society and that of the victims clearly outweigh the personal interest of the accused. This calls for a strong and deterrent sentence, coupled with rehabilitation as an objective. Direct imprisonment remains the only competent sentence for the accused,” he said.
State prosecutor Eric Naikaku argued that the charges the accused was convicted are serious and that the crimes were committed within a domestic relationship.
“The accused, according to the state, had authority and vested trust over the victims and took advantage of it, and needs to be punished for that,” he said.
The accused did not testify in mitigation of sentence.
Defence lawyer Linus Samaria argued there is substantial and compelling circumstances that necessitates a lighter sentence than that prescribed by the Combating of Rape Act.
Samaria said no evidence was presented indicating that the victims suffered any physical injuries as a direct result of their father’s conduct.
However, he conceded on the minimum sentence and that the acts fell within the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act.
The accused has six children.