A man accused of raping a 16-year-old girl twice in two days has been found innocent of both counts.
However, Tshwarelo Bashimanayana’s joy was short-lived, as Molepolole Magistrates Court ruled he was guilty of unlawfully wounding the same teenager.
The 24-year-old Letlhakeng native was remanded in custody and will be sentenced on 20 January.
In a three-day crime spree, it was alleged that he committed the rapes on 26 and 27 October 2018 before assaulting the same girl on the 28th.
On the first count, at around 8 pm in Letlhakeng’s Shageng ward, Bashimanayana was said to have accosted the teen as she walked home from church.
“She met the accused who held her by the hands and pulled her to his place of residence where he tied her with a wire, undressed her, and had sexual intercourse with her without consent. Thereafter he untied her and instructed her to go home,” maintained the prosecution.
The following day, Bashimanayana reportedly found the same girl at a mutual friend’s house. He was alleged to have dragged the complainant to a different house, where he supposedly undressed her and raped her again.
After the incident, although she did not tell her parents, the young girl is said to have confided in a friend.
The next day, Bashimanyana confronted the girl at a local tuck shop. He accused her of telling his girlfriend that he had slept with her without her consent. He then proceeded to beat her repeatedly with the branch from a thorn tree.
The matter was reported to the police after the girl’s aunt found her in tears and discovered Bashimanyana had assaulted her.
The cops then opened a case of assault. It was only when she was taken to the clinic for an examination that the girl claimed she had also been raped.
In his defence, Bashimanyana admitted he beat the girl, explaining he did so because was causing ‘friction’ between him and his girlfriend.
Delivering judgment, Magistrate Kaveri Kapeko ruled there was enough doubt not to hand out a guilty sentence for the rape charges. He noted the doctor’s report was not presented before the court and thus there was no physical evidence of any penetration.
“I have evaluated the evidence of the prosecution especially of the victim but the main issue is to determine if she is credible or there are circumstances which made her say that the accused raped her. Looking at the credibility of the victim there is no evidence that she was forced and pulled,” stated Magistrate Kapeko.