Senior Resident Magistrate ’Manapo Motebele on Friday sentenced Tanki Ramoseli of Ha-Limo to one year in prison for kidnapping a minor two years ago.
Ramoseli (21) told the court he abducted the 15-year-old girl on 20 July 2013 in Ha-Limo Ha-Mafoka with the intention of marrying her, but the magistrate found him guilty of kidnapping.
However, Magistrate Motebele also offered Ramoseli a chance to avoid imprisonment by paying a M1000 fine, and gave him until 30 September to settle the payment.
He had been out on M500 bail since 12 May 2014.
Initially, the 21-year-old had been charged alongside his twin brother Tankiso, Tšokolo Nkesi (20) and Lebohang Tlali (23), who were later discharged due to lack of evidence.
But in his defence before the court, Ramoseli argued the girl’s mother had agreed to the marriage as she could not pay the teenager’s school-fees anymore—a claim the parent denied in her testimony.
Ramoseli and his three co-accused allegedly first tried to kidnap the girl (name withheld) on her way to a funeral with her uncle (name also withheld to protect the minor’s identity), but failed.
The following day, the uncle and the girl went to report the incident to the police, but were confronted by Tanki and the late Lerubo (other name not given) on their way from the station.
The court was told how Tanki hit the girl with a stick, prompting the uncle—who the court heard was intimidated by the presence of the violent Lerubo—to let her go with him to the mountains where they stayed for the rest of the day.
The two returned from the mountains late in the night and sought shelter at Nkesi’s residence, the court further heard.
Tanki again took his victim to the mountains the following day where he was intimate with her, evidence moved before the court also showed.
The two again returned in the night and this time, stayed at Tankiso’s house where Tanki was arrested the following day.
But evidence presented in court indicted the girl had been in love with Tanki since 2009, only to break-up in 2012.
According to the magistrate, she had considered mitigating and aggravating factors presented by defense and crown counsel, Advocates Tsokolo Habasisa and Lesawana Mohale, respectively, before delivering her ruling.
“If the mother had agreed to the marriage, why would she report the case to the police? This implies there was no consent from the guardian,” the magistrate said.
“The issue before court is whether the mother had consented to the agreement or not. The crown proved there was no evidence of this from the accused.
“So can we say the intention of the four accused was to abduct the child? The answer is no because what they did does not disclose the element of the offense.
“However, the following day, only Tanki and the late Lerubo forced her to go with them to the mountains with the intention of marrying her but the other accused were not present.
“The actions of Accused One (Tanki) clearly show he had the intention to abduct the child without her parent’s consent.
“The court therefore, concludes the crown established a case against Accused One only and all the others are acquitted,” said Magistrate Motebele.
In his plea for a lenient sentence, Tanki expressed regret for what he did and further told the court he was unemployed and would not commit a
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