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Herd-boy blames evil spirits for raping child


High Court Judge  Molefi Makara
High Court Judge Molefi Makara

Brian Chiwanza

A 24-yearold herd-boy from Lithabaneng Ha-Keiso has blamed “evil spirits” for raping a six-year-old child two years ago.

Thabiso Meno was sentenced to 15 years in jail on Thursday in the High Court by Justice Molefi Makara, who found him guilty of raping the minor once on 30 November 2013.

Meno first went on trial for the offence on 18 December 2013 in the Maseru Magistrate’s Court.

The court convicted him for rape on 8 January 2014 and committed him to the High Court for sentencing.

According to his charge-sheet, Meno committed the offence “at or near Lithabaneng Ha-Keiso”.

Evidence moved in court showed Meno had been asked by the girl’s father to escort the child home while he remained at the cattle-post watching over their livestock.

Meno raped the child once he reached home, evidence further showed.

However, the girl’s sister informed their mother of her suspicion after noticing some blood on the child’s clothing, leading to Meno’s arrest.

Meno pleaded guilty as charged in court and was denied bail.

Defense lawyer, Advocate Raboloetse Makara, mitigated on behalf of the accused, that he was a first-time offender and had not wasted the court’s time by pleading guilty.

Advocate Makara also said the accused was an orphan who had expressed remorse for his actions.

Meno told the court: “I am very sorry for what happened. I am sorry for what I did to the victim and I would like to ask for her forgiveness as well as her parents. I  wronged them, and for that, I ask for forgiveness.

“I really can’t tell the court what came over me to do this and influenced me to commit this offence; I think I was driven by evil spirits.”

Meno however pleaded with the judge to consider his “underprivileged” background.

“I am an orphan, I attended school up to Standard Six and I was working as a herd-boy.”

Crown counsel Advocate Thato Tsutsubi said Meno’s regret had played a role in his minimum sentence of 15 years. He was not given an option to pay a fine to gain his freedom.

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