The fate of a Zimbabwean man hangs in the balance after a Molepolole Magistrates Court convicted him for defiling a teenage girl.
Despite repeated attempts to plead ignorance of his victim’s age, Andrew Ngoni could not escape the wrath of the law, as Magistrate Gaseitsewe Tonoki found him guilty and remanded him in the slammer to await his sentence.
When maintaining his innocence during trial, Ngoni claimed the girl looked and acted mature and was at the bar at night where underage girls are not allowed.
The 23-year-old Zimbabwean man further told the court that after he proposed love to the 15-year-old Standard 6 girl, she told him that she was old enough.
Ngoni’s evidence corroborated with the Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Bross Ntswetswe’s testimony when he earlier told the court that when he interviewed the girl in the presence of her mother why she fell in love with someone much older than her, she said she did not tell Ngoni her age because she was old enough.
“When I asked her what she was doing for a living, the girl told me that she dropped from school while doing a certain course. That made me to believe she was old enough and also considering the place where I met her, i believed her,” explained Ngoni further saying even the girl’s behaviour was of a mature woman.
The court also heard that during the course of their relationship, Ngoni used to buy the girl some clothes and that her parents accepted them.
He also said he told the girl’s uncle about their love affair and the uncle only advised him that they should avoid fighting in their relationship.
“Since I realised she was old enough and intended to stay with her in my life, I then built her a house. Had I known earlier that she was underage, I would not have proposed love to her since I also have younger sisters,” said a remorseful Ngoni.
This publication learnt that Ngoni built the girl’s family a 2-and-a half house worth P25, 000 and they now have a 17-months-old baby boy with the girl.
When quizzed further, Ngoni told Magistrate Tonoki that he asked the girl about her age two weeks after they met for the second time at night at the same bar.
Ngoni’s witness, 43-year-old Salim Ishmael said the girl was her neighbour and that her father was his employee at the chicken farm.
He revealed that the girl frequents the bar and that her father always complained about her unruly behaviour. “She usually goes to the bar on Fridays and returns home on Sundays, even this week she arrived home on Sunday,” added Ishmael.
When delivering the judgement, Chief Magistrate Tonoki said it was not in dispute that the accused met the victim when she was 15, under the age of 18 and further not disputed that he had sex with her and even has a baby with her.
“The accused claimed they had sex after two weeks which is contrary to what the victim said. She said they had sex the same night the accused met her also without enquiring her age. If it is true that they had sex the same night it means the accused did not bother asking about her age,” explained the magistrate.
He further said though Ngoni met the victim at the bar it was not the girl’s responsibility to confirm her age and that Ngoni should have taken all precautions and steps to prove that the girl was not underage.
“Finding the victim at the bar was not an excuse, he should have proved her age before satisfying his sexual desires. Also asking about her age proves that he suspected she was underage. I find the victim credible in her evidence that she met the accused in 2020 and had sex with him,” concluded Chief Magistrate Tonoki when finding Ngoni guilty.
The matter is scheduled for mitigation on May 18th, 2022.