A 51-year-old man convicted in the Outapi Regional Court for defiling a seven-year-old girl had his sentence set aside by the High Court. After the act he allegedly gave the young girl an orange.
Titus Haufiku Shanghala managed a partial victory when appeal judge Johanna Salionga and acting judge Mike Namweya set aside his sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment.
The court however declined to set aside his conviction on the charge of rape.
Without any legal representation, Shanghala filed an appeal against his conviction and sentence, saying he was wrongfully accused of a crime he never committed. Furthermore, that the sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment was not fair. Although the High Court was satisfied with the conviction it however found that the regional court failed to explain the concept of substantial and compelling circumstances to Shanghala during mitigation before sentencing, in order for him to receive a fair trial.
Furthermore, the judicial officer should have played an active role and properly advised Shanghala who opted to represent himself.
“In our view, failure to follow the guidelines including failure to explain the coercive circumstances to an unrepresented accused in a rape case is material misdirection that calls for the appeal court to interfere with a sentence,” said judge Salionga.
Shanghala’s case has been referred back to the regional court for sentencing to start afresh. The High Court further ordered that in sentencing Shanghala, the regional court should consider the time he has already spent in police custody.
Shanghala was convicted on a charge of rape for sexually violating a minor. During the trial the victim testified that Shanghala called her inside his room where he ordered her to undress herself.
She did not want to undress herself and tried to run away.
Shanghala followed her, grabbed her and pulled her into his room. While in the room Shanghala undressed her and put her on the bed before undressing himself. She further testified that Shanghala proceeded to violate her.
It was her testimony that after the violation, Shanghala allegedly gave her an orange. The victim was later found in Shanghala’s room half-naked on the floor by her mother, while Shanghala lay on the bed.
Shanghala is said to have been employed at the house where the minor stays. – email@example.com