child rape

Tough new approach to sentencing in child rape cases

A significant development is under way in Malawi’s high court judgments on sentencing in child rape cases. Three new decisions by a couple of high court judges show a clear determination to treat such crimes with great seriousness and for sentencing to reflect the gravity of the crimes. The judges have also made significant critiques of aspects of defilement cases, with suggestions for what can be done to improve matters.

‘Neglect, dereliction of duty’ by prosecution – and father convicted of child rape goes free

Three judges of Zambia’s supreme court have set free a father who was convicted of raping his young daughter and sentenced to 35 years with hard labour. How did it happen that what appeared a secure conviction was set aside? How will the three judges feel about their decision which, setting the father free, could place the daughter at risk again?

Raped child not sworn in properly: life sentence, conviction set aside

The child in this case claimed she had been raped by a relative of her father’s, starting from when she was nine years old. The case against the accused seemed strong, and the regional (senior) magistrate convicted him and sentenced him to life imprisonment. But when he appealed, the high court found the child had not been properly sworn in: conviction was set aside, along with his life sentence, and the man walked free.

Read the judgment

Judge Johan Ploos van Amstel reviewed the facts of the disturbing case before him in the high court, Pietermaritzburg.

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