WINDHOEK - Tuufilwa Ndawina Jonas, 34, convicted on three counts of rape and three counts of trafficking in persons after she trafficked a young girl from Okahenge village in Omusati for sexual exploitation during 2012 was sentenced to an effective 28 years imprisonment yesterday.
Her sentence was meted out by the Windhoek High Court.
Judge Naomi Shivute sentenced Jonas to six years each on the rape convictions and five years each on the trafficking convictions.
One of the sentences on the trafficking convictions will run concurrently.
Judge Shivute said that although Jonas was a first criminal offender, she committed heinous offences, which are unimaginable to be committed by a mother.
According to her, the offences is aggravated by the fact that the victim was a family member of the accused who lured the victim to an unknown place under a false pretense that she would get employment, knowing very well that she would be given to men for sexual exploitation.
“The victim trusted the accused,” the judge said and continued: “It is clear from the record that the victim suffered trauma because of the accused’s merciless actions.
The victim had to scream when she saw the accused in court. She testified that the accused had destroyed her life and she is no longer in a position to think properly.”
The judge further said it is necessary to protect members of society from individuals such as the accused and by imposing appropriate sentences; courts promote respect for the rule of law and help to keep harmony as well as co-existence amongst members of society.
However, she said, sentences must reflect the seriousness of the offence and at the same time must fit the offender and furthermore, for the courts to arrive at a just sentence it needs to strike a balance between the interests of the accused and that of society.
According to Judge Shivute, the accused being a first offender who has been in custody for a considerable period of time awaiting the finalization of her trial are factors that weighs heavily in her favour as well as the fact that she has shown genuine remorse.
However, the judge continued, in determining an appropriate sentence, she must have regard to the degree of culpability or blameworthiness exhibited by the accused in executing these crimes.
“The accused was aggressive during her testimony when she was placed on her defence,” the judge said and added: “However, she broke down when she was testifying in mitigation and apologized for her deeds. She was truly remorseful. Although the accused showed genuine remorse, she committed premeditated offences.
She had left her work on the farm, travelled to Ohangwena region to her victim, and deceived her that she would get a job for her. She arranged for her transportation from her place of residence to Okahandja district where these offences were committed.”
The judge further said the fact that the accused is a mother herself and yet she actively involved herself in trafficking in persons and rape weighs heavily against her.
According to the judge, the accused took advantage of the vulnerability of her victim because she is an orphan who comes from a less privileged background, by taking her from school just to give her away to be sexually abused by several men.
Judge Shivute went on to say the offences of rape and trafficking in persons are very serious and have a serious impact on victims.
According to her, the scar of being raped will always remain with the victim.
The State was represented by Advocate Felicitas Sikerete-Vendura and Jonas by Milton Engelbrecht on instructions of Legal Aid.
2019-12-04 07:38:49 | 6 months ago