In a bizarre case that stunned many, a 13-year-old boy has been acquitted and discharged for allegedly raping a 83-year-old woman at Lepashe cattlepost in 2012. The accused, who is now 15 years old, made an application for no case to answer, through his attorney Morris Ndawana.
Principal Magistrate Dumisani Basupi said what was required was for the prosecution to prove its case against the accused beyond reasonable doubt.
Basupi said the complainant stated that someone tripped and had sex with her while she was gathering wild berries.
“The doctor who examined the complainant confirmed that she was raped,” he said. “There is also evidence of some shoeprints that led the prosecution to the accused’s place of residence. However, none of the prosecution witnesses saw it happen.”
Basupi said the only person who could give a clear picture of what happened was the complainant.
The magistrate added: “However, when she gave her testimony, she said she did not know the accused.
Before she gave her evidence, she asked the court to give her permission to go and smoke. She had difficulties hearing properly and used a walking stick. At times she laughed for no apparent reason. “It was hard to form a reasonable opinion of what happened.
The investigation officer could have taken swabs from the complainant to link the perpetrator to the offence through DNA.”
The case took another twist when Basupi said the accused made a confession before the social worker that he found the complainant in the bush, tripped and raped her and then ran away.
Basupi said the accused told the social worker that he knew the complainant very well as he sometimes used to help her fetch water.
“The accused said he did not know what led him to rape the old woman. Had the investigations officer taken the accused before a judicial officer to give evidence, his admission could be admissible as evidence in court.
The identity of the perpetrator in this case is at stake as no one saw him. The accused’ application for a case of no case to answer is therefore successful,” he said.