JWANENG: “As the court pleases”. Those were the final words from the prosecution bench after they failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that indeed Ketshepile Selebatso of Sese village sexually abused a minor in 2013.
Magistrate Basetsana Keakantse noted Thursday that it is a prerequisite in a defilement case that the age of the complainant be properly established. In order to prove the age of the complainant, a birth certificate must be produced or any person who was there when the child was born could testify before court.
Keakantse also observed that the variation of age as presented by the complainant and the pathologist could not be relied upon by courts of law as they could not be proven. “I also observed the body structure of the complainant. She had big breasts, bumps and curves and to me she appeared more like a young lady than a young girl,” said Keakantse.
She said in this case, the prosecution failed to establish the age of the complainant and thus failing to prove beyond reasonable doubt to prove they have a defilement case against Selebatso. She said if there is a benefit of doubt before a court of law, it should favour the accused , hence she discharged and acquitted him.
The Court heard that on April 27, 2013 while the complainant was staying at Pastor Seven’s place in Sese, she met the accused, who was 21-years-old at that time, on her way to gather firewood. It is alleged Selebatso yelled at her, uttering these words:
“Look at that girl with big bumps”, before he proposed love to her.
The minor testified that she agreed to have an affair with the accused and they had sex. The court also recorded a witness who also testified that she saw the accused in an underwear in the house she was sharing with the minor. The accused denied ever having sex with the complainant.
It was also recorded that when the complainant was making her statement, she mumbled and giggled when asked about her age and seemed unsure.
The prosecution secured a professional pathologist with the aim of estimating the age of the minor and he estimated that the complainant could have been 13 years when the offence was allegedly committed in 2013.
The complainant had told court that she is 13 years this year.